News / Middle East

    Kerry: Mideast Peace Deal Closest in Years

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry picks up his notebook after answering questions from members of the media before his departure from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv on Friday, Dec. 6, 2013.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry picks up his notebook after answering questions from members of the media before his departure from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv on Friday, Dec. 6, 2013.
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    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry picks up his notebook after answering questions from members of the media before his departure from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv on Friday, Dec. 6, 2013.
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry picks up his notebook after answering questions from members of the media before his departure from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv on Friday, Dec. 6, 2013.
    Scott Bobb
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says he believes Israel and the Palestinians are closer to a peace agreement than they have been in years at the end of a three-day trip to the region.  
     
    Kerry told reporters Friday before leaving Israel that despite the obstacles he was encouraged by the commitment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the pursuit of peace.
     
    "Together there is no doubt in my mind we can reach an agreement that will support the peaceful and promising Palestine that the Palestinian people deserve alongside a prosperous and a more secure Israel," said Kerry.
     
    Kerry's visit came amid reports that the talks were faltering over Israeli concerns about security in the West Bank and Palestinian anger over the continued construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
     
    The talks resumed four months ago after a three-year suspension. They are to continue for another five months.
     
    Kerry dismissed media speculation of a breakdown in the talks saying the two sides have maintained regular discussions.
     
    He also declined to provide details on reports that U.S. mediators have made proposals regarding security in the Palestinian territories but indicated that such an effort was underway.
     
    "If Israel's security cannot be increased through this agreement it's very difficult to make an agreement," said Kerry. "So we are making certain that we are addressing each and every one of those questions."
     
    Kerry also sought to ease Israeli alarm over the recently concluded interim agreement on Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program.
     
    Under the accord, Iran agreed to freeze any work on this program in exchange for a partial lifting of international economic sanctions that have hurt its economy.
     
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) listens as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a news conference following a meeting at Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem, Dec. 5, 2013.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) listens as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a news conference following a meeting at Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem, Dec. 5, 2013.
    x
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) listens as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a news conference following a meeting at Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem, Dec. 5, 2013.
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) listens as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a news conference following a meeting at Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem, Dec. 5, 2013.
    Netanyahu has repeatedly called it a bad agreement. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.
     
    Kerry said he was convinced that Israel is safer as a result of the accord.
     
    "Israel and the United States are absolutely in synch (agreement), not an ounce of daylight between us, with respect to the need to make sure that Iran cannot achieve a nuclear weapon, will not in the future be able to achieve it and certainly cannot move towards it without the United States of America and Israel knowing that, and therefore being able to take steps to deal with that," Kerry said.
     
    He said the accord provided the best opportunity to resolve the concerns of the international community and pledged to return to the region in a few weeks if necessary.

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    by: PermReader
    December 07, 2013 2:56 PM
    Muslims and particularly Arabs openly speak and teach their children that the Zionists must be obliterated.There are many supporters of this dream in the West.What agreement can be reached with these Israel haters? -Just words.

    by: Drew Barry from: USA
    December 07, 2013 11:46 AM
    Kerry, a real creep that belongs to the Northern California club, Bohemian Grove. What a creep!!!

    by: Connie from: USA
    December 07, 2013 11:41 AM
    Kerry is a Liar and a Fraud. He is an admitted member of BOHEMIAN GROVE, yet the so-called "secretary of state". Ludicrous!!!

    by: Pascal from: France
    December 07, 2013 11:08 AM
    talking about a Philistine State... what happened to the Billion and Billions of Dollars poured into that corrupt "Philistine Authority" - all the Arabs are still pouring into Israel in search of employment... let me tell you - sufficient money has been poured into this PA depravity to make every degenerate Suicide murderer a millionaire...

    by: Evangelical from: Christ
    December 07, 2013 9:53 AM
    VOA, I am confused... who should i believe... those Arabs who write in English and tell me that what the Philistines want is "peace" with Israel or those Arabs who write in Arabic on official Philistines web sites and proclaim and want the destruction of Israel..??

    by: Nazarene from: Church
    December 07, 2013 9:05 AM
    we all understand the game here... the destruction of Israel...!!! they couldn't do it by external force (thought they tried four times...) now they hope they can do it through these pestilential organizations... Hamas, Fatha, Islamic Jihad, Al Qaeda,
    its hilarious to listen to the Arabs here - LOL... you would think that they are angelic humanitarians... look what they do to each other in Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq... the list of their depravities is endless... now, Get the Hell Out of Israel... all of it!!!

    by: Maria from: Italy
    December 07, 2013 8:45 AM
    Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah..... the Philistines have a country - its called Jordan - a Muslim place they feel at home... a country that will treat them just like they deserve... a country that knows how to treat Arabs... Israel is a progressive liberal country... unsuited for the depraved Philistines and their Hamas and Hizbullas... of course they would like Israel far more than say Syria or Iraq or even Egypt... but Jordan is their place...

    by: JohnWV from: USA
    December 07, 2013 7:05 AM
    Besieged Palestinian Gaza is an experiment in provocation. Stuff a million and a half people into a tiny space, stifle their access to water, electricity, food and medical treatment, destroy their livelihoods, humiliate them regularly...and, surprise, surprise - they turn hostile. Now why would you want to do that experiment? Because the hostility you provoke is the whole point. Now under attack you can cast yourself as the victim, and call out the helicopter gunships and the F16 attack fighters and the heavy tanks and the guided missiles, and destroy yet more of the pathetic remains of infrastructure that the Palestinian state still has left. And then you can point to it as a hopeless case, unfit to govern itself, a terrorist state, a state with which you couldn't possibly reach an accommodation. And then you can carry on with business as usual, quietly stealing their homeland. Israel is creator and perpetrator of the Gaza horror. Only the destruction of the racist Jewish state will curtail its quest to impose holocaust level horror on all goyim.

    by: randy from: Indiana
    December 07, 2013 5:09 AM
    This has been going on for how many years now. the solution is for the United States to cut off all aid to Israel until they step up to the plate and recognize the Palestinian government and Palestine as its own state. even the UN recognizes it.

    by: Chagrined from: USA
    December 07, 2013 3:13 AM
    Israel will not be a partner in peace with the Palestinians until its benefactor, America, tells Israel, "No peace," No American tax dollars."
    American tax dollars are stolen to build homes for Jewish settlers on Palestinian land. This is vulgar and unacceptable and generates disgust and distrust of Jews and Israel who worship the God of Greed!
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