News / Middle East

Kerry Urges Hard Decisions After Meetings with Israeli, Palestinians

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) waves as he stands next to Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat before his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah May 23, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) waves as he stands next to Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat before his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah May 23, 2013.
Scott Bobb
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has ended a two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories Friday by urging their leaders to make the hard decisions needed to revive the Middle East peace talks.
 
Concluding his fourth visit to the region in three months, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called on Israel and the Palestinians to restart direct negotiations without preconditions.
 
"We do not want to get stuck in a place where we are arguing about a particular substantive issue that is actually part of a final settlement and that argument takes you so long that you never get to the negotiations that bring about a final settlement," said Kerry.
 
The remarks were not likely to please the Palestinians who say they will return to the negotiations only if Israel stops building new Jewish housing in the West Bank and releases all political prisoners

Photo Gallery: Kerry in Middle East
 
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks with Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat upon his arrival in the West Bank city of Ramallah, May 23, 2013.
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 23, 2013.
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, gestures while meeting with Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, May 23, 2013.
  • Group photo of leaders at the friends of Syria conference in Amman, Jordan, May 22, 2013.
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry listens to remarks at a meeting on Syria in Amman, Jordan, May 22, 2013.
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Jordan's King Abdullah in Amman, Jordan, May 22, 2013.
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is greeted by Oman's Foreign Minister Yusuf Bin Alawi bin Abdullah in Muscat, Oman, May 21, 2013.

The Israelis say any talks should resume without preconditions.
 
During his visit, Kerry met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other leaders.
 
Kerry said both sides know what the choices are.
 
"Both sides know what is needed in order to try to move forward. And it's really time for the governments to make their decisions. Are they prepared? This is not something that we [the United States] can decide. This is something that the leaders of Israel and the leaders of the Palestinian Authority have to decide. And we're getting towards the time now where hard decisions need to be made," he said.
 
Secretary of State John Kerry travels to the following countries, May 21-26.Secretary of State John Kerry travels to the following countries, May 21-26.
x
Secretary of State John Kerry travels to the following countries, May 21-26.
Secretary of State John Kerry travels to the following countries, May 21-26.
The Middle East peace talks have been largely stalled over the past four years.
 
Kerry's diplomacy over the past three months has been aimed at achieving small concessions that could encourage the two sides to adopt more flexible positions to allow direct talks to resume.
 
"Peace is actually possible notwithstanding the doubts that some people have because of past disappointments," said Kerry.
 
During his visit to the region, Kerry attended a conference in Jordan supporting Syria's opposition that reiterated its support for a negotiated solution to the conflict in Syria. It also pledged to increase its support for Syrian rebels until a political transition begins.
 
Before departing Kerry commented on the upcoming presidential elections in Iran (Friday) saying that the elimination of hundreds of candidates by Iran's Guardian Council, whose members are appointed by the government, is not a free and fair process.  

Kerry's next stop is Ethiopia for a two-day meeting of leaders of the African Union.

You May Like

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs