News / Middle East

Expectations Low for Mideast Peace Talks

Low Expectations for Mideast Peace Talksi
X
August 14, 2013 12:31 PM
The latest effort to inject life into the long-stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians is expected to resume Wednesday. Senior Israeli and Palestinian negotiators - along with United States mediators -- are set to meet for a second round of talks at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. But as VOA's Jeff Seldin reports, expectations are low
Low Expectations for Mideast Peace Talks
The latest effort to inject life into the long-stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians is expected to resume Wednesday. Senior Israeli and Palestinian negotiators - along with United States mediators -- are set to meet for a second round of talks at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.

U.S. State Department officials are hopeful. "Both sides are at the negotiating table in good faith here because they believe in the importance of the peace process.  They believe that the most important way to settle these issues is through a negotiated final status agreement," said Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman.

But contention runs deep even as Israel released 26 Palestinian prisoners - a condition of the talks.

In the West Bank town of Hebron, Umm Asem was looking forward to seeing her husband, imprisoned in Israel for the 1992 killing of an army reservist. "It is difficult to describe my feelings. It is a feeling of happiness which I hope God will grant to all people,'' she said.

The release of the pisoners has riled many Israelis, some of whom tried and failed to get the Israeli courts to intervene.

"Where are we going now?" pondered Meir Indor, a member of the Almagor Terror Victims Association. "The terrorists to go out, the people who have been murdered are in the grave. That's not the way to bring peace. It will bring more violence."

Meanwhile, Israel's approval this week of about 2,000 new settlement homes, including some in mainly-Palestinian East Jerusalem, has Palestinians fuming.

Israel's housing minister, though, was defiant.  "In simple words, we are simply building. Go outside and see we are building. And not only that, we will continue to build thousands of housing units. This is appropriate, this is what we should do, and so we shall do," said Uri Ariel.

Senior Palestinian leader Hanan Ashrawi said the settlement announcement could sabotage peace talks. "It's very clear that Israel once again is manipulating the process in order to create facts on the ground that would render negotiations entirely irrelevant because it would preempt their outcome," he stated. 

Anthony Cordesman, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said it does not have to be a deal-breaker. “A lot depends on how pragmatic both sides are, how willing they are to look at the full range of pressures that affect and threaten them,” he explained.

Those pressures, Cordesman said, include the political uncertainty across Israel's borders in Egypt and the continuing war in Syria. And for the Palestinians, the longer it takes to forge a compromise with the Israelis, Cordesman said, the more Israeli settlements are likely to go up.

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid