News / Middle East

Mideast Peace Talks Resume in Washington

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) speaks next to Martin Indyk at the State Department in Washington ,July 29, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) speaks next to Martin Indyk at the State Department in Washington ,July 29, 2013.
Robert Berger
Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians are set to resume late Monday in Washington after a long stalemate. But there are plenty of obstacles ahead.
 
Key Issues in Israeli - Palestinian Talks

Two State Solution
  • Palestinians want an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza, with East Jerusalem as capital
  • Israel says future shape of Palestinian state must be based on negotiations and  resists calls to base talks on pre-war 1967 lines

Israeli Settlements
  • Israel has built large settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem
  • Palestinians call for a total freeze on settlement activity

Status of Jerusalem
  • Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be their capital
  • Israel has annexed East Jerusalem and says Jerusalem is its indivisible, eternal capital

Palestinian Refugees
  • Palestinians demand refugees who left or were forced out when Israel was created in 1948 be allowed to return, along with their descendents
  • Israel rejects the right of return
The new Israeli-Palestinian talks follow nearly five years of paralysis, and skepticism on both sides runs deep. Twenty years of on-again, off-again negotiations have failed to achieve a final peace agreement with the creation of a Palestinian state.

Just hours before the negotiations were to begin,  US Secretary of State Kerry named former U.S. ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk to be his point man for the talks. Indyk played a key role in the 2000 Camp David peace negotiations.

At a State Department briefing Monday with Indyk at his side, Kerry said "reasonable compromises must be the keystone for all efforts towards a negotiated settlement."
 
Israeli and Palestinian chief negotiators will try to hammer out a framework for the talks which will tackle the thorniest issues of the conflict: the status of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, Jewish settlements and final borders. 
 
Gaps are wide, but the return to face-to-face talks signals that the parties are prepared to give peace a chance.  

Israeli chief negotiator Tzipi Livni said the negotiations will be “very complex in a very difficult neighborhood.” But she said peace talks are necessary to preserve a secure and democratic Israel, and they are beginning with both caution and hope. 
 
Palestinian expectations are low, and disagreements have already emerged over the future borders of a Palestinian state. Palestinian officials say the negotiations must be based on an Israeli withdrawal from territories captured during the 1967 Middle East war, including the West Bank and East Jerusalem. They are also demanding a freeze on Jewish settlement construction in those disputed areas. 
 
Mutstafa Barghouti, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said the peace process is troubled.
 
“The declared agreement is quite fragile. It is obvious that Israel does not accept the ‘67 borders as terms of reference for these negotiations, and also, Israel is going to continue to build settlements while negotiations take place," Barghouti, said. "This would undermine completely any potential for the success of such negotiations.”  
 
Israel says that the 1967 borders are indefensible, Jerusalem is not negotiable and the future of the settlements will be determined in direct talks. 
 
Bridging those gaps will be a major challenge for Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, and their American mediators. But to sweeten the cup, Israel plans to release 104 long-term Palestinian prisoners. 
 
Related video

Israelis, Palestinians to Resume Direct Talksi
X
July 29, 2013 5:57 PM
Israelis and Palestinians are resuming direct talks after a three year lapse, with initial meetings in Washington to discuss plans to move forward. VOA's Suzanne Presto has more from the State Department.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 29, 2013 12:03 PM
I want to agree with Livni's "very difficult neighborhood” claim. We must agree that the White House as presently constituted is not friendly toward Israel. Again the Palestinian demand negates conservative Jewish tradition that dates back to at least 7000 years. The Middle East did not jump into existence in 1967, so how did the borders then come about? Perhaps the Palestinians should tell us what name they were called in the medieval so we can understand why they lay claim to the land, nay Jerusalem.

However it is interesting that the two parties have agreed to restart the negotiations, but the supporters should help them to achieve the elusive peace by stopping to push for untenable goals. Sticking to certain demands like stopping settlement building, East Jerusalem, etc., while still striding Israel on two sides is unacceptable. While we wish the peace process succeeds this time around as its success will bring much of the world's requirement of peace, it must not be at the cost of the original owners who rather than cry out as having their land occupied, are accused of annexing Palestinian land. Unfair as that may be, yet let there be peace in the Middle East so that the mad dogs will no longer proffer any more reason to attack modern civilization.


by: Oluwasegun Oluwadare from: Nigeria
July 29, 2013 10:11 AM
I pray for the peace of Israel,I pray for the peace of Jerusalem.Let there be peace within her walls and prosperity within her palaces.

A secured and peaceful Israel is a secured and peaceful Middle East.


by: Tony Bellchambers from: London
July 29, 2013 2:57 AM
How long before Netanyahu refuses to consider 'preconditions' i.e. to stop his illegal settlement policy on stolen occupied Palestinian land and forces the new 'peace' talks to close and reinforces the increasingly widespread view that it is he, Binyamin Netanyahu, who controls the Middle East foreign policy of the United States, the United Nations and the European Union.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid