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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid