News / USA

    Obama, Kerry Meet Abbas in Push for Peace Talk Progress

    President Barack Obama (r) shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the Oval Office at the White House, March 17, 2014.
    President Barack Obama (r) shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the Oval Office at the White House, March 17, 2014.
    VOA News
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry plans to continue pushing forward peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in the coming days, after he and President Barack Obama met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
     
    A senior State Department official said late Monday that Kerry and Abbas held a second meeting to "exchange ideas" and discuss possible paths for the peace talks.
     
    In the earlier meeting at the White House, Obama urged Abbas to make tough decisions and take risks for peace with Israel.
     
    "Its very hard, its very challenging. We're going to have to take some tough political decisions and risks if we're able to move it forward," said Obama.
     
    Abbas said he wants to see Israel carry out the scheduled release of a final group of Palestinian prisoners.
     
    "Mr. President, we have an agreement with Israel that was brokered by Mr. Kerry concerning the release of the fourth batch of prisoners and we are hopeful that the fourth batch will be released by the 29th of March because this will give a very solid impression about the seriousness of these efforts to achieve peace," said Abbas.

    Obama also pressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to go ahead with the scheduled release of a final group of Palestinian prisoners by the end of March.

    He said all parties would have to compromise in order to achieve peace.

    "Its very hard, its very challenging," Obama said. "We're gonna have to take some tough political decisions and risks if we're able to move it forward."

    The meeting came ahead of an April 29 target date for a framework agreement from the troubled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

    In the West Bank's main cities Monday, thousands of Palestinians took to the streets to support Abbas' visit. Demonstrators waved flags and chanted 'We are with you, president!"

    Some 1,500 people turned out in the West Bank administrative center of Ramallah, and more than 1,000 in the southern city of Hebron.

    Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu two weeks ago, but after more than seven months of U.S.-brokered peace talks, there is growing pessimism and acrimony.

    There has been little visible progress on narrowing gaps on major issues in the more than six-decade dispute. These include the status of Jerusalem, the fate of Palestinian refugees, borders and security.

    The U.S. hopes a framework deal will prevent the collapse of the peace process and enable negotiations on a final agreement to continue until the end of the year.

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    Comments
         
    by: SimonEe
    March 19, 2014 7:35 AM
    Americans if you can't stand Obama...think about how other countries feel about this fraud. They hate him in Egypt with a passion for supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. If you could find anything such as international law written on paper it would be hard to read because America under Obama has already wiped its backside with it along with their "different set of lawyers" that this incompetent talks about. I would never use the Constitution in the analogy above...I have too much respect for it even as an aussie. But hasn't he done all he can to undermine the spirit and intent of your great Constitution.

    by: john w burns from: usa
    March 18, 2014 5:59 AM
    Kerry is a joke along with Obama. we will wind up giving taxpayer dollars to a bunch of muslims who don't want peace.

    by: Ali Azam from: Iran
    March 18, 2014 12:01 AM
    Stephany, we know that the shameful mark of the depravity of Islam has been branded on our foreheads. But not for long. i promise you, not for long. We will take our country back from the corruption and perversion of the Mullahs and the Ayatollahs. Iranians have such a strong love and admiration for Israel like of bigger brother to smaller brother - I swear to you - we do love them and are so proud of them. They are truly God's beloved - they are His People. I am so sorry of what we are doing to them. such a shame. But Not for long now, God willing - not for long

    by: Sepehr from: Iran
    March 17, 2014 7:10 PM
    Kisumi, Iranians are NOT Arab!! We are Persian. Read a little history before commenting please!!
    In Response

    by: Stephany B. from: CA
    March 17, 2014 11:31 PM
    you were Persians... with your own peaceful glorious religion, with an Empire of benevolent righteous intellectual enlightenment that went to war with Babylon to restore the House of Israel back to God's Promised Land. But you were conquered and converted to the brutality of Islam. and look at yourself now... you are a parody, a farce..!!

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    March 17, 2014 1:26 PM
    Sacrifices out there can be extreme - Anwar Sadat of Egypt for example. Abbas does not have to make sacrifices for people who do not know what it means or deserve it. Take a look at the prisoners released by Israel - convicted criminals with blood on their hands who had killed, sometimes scores of innocent women and children in cold blood. They are treated humanely in Israeli jails. But soon after they are released, they return to terrorism and re-engage in throwing bombs and rockets at Israel. They learn nothing. Instead they want to prove to their people that nothing has changed in them - not even to learn to speak peace - after all they were dead and were brought back to life by some people who had their fate in their hand and yet did not kill them.

    No, they are not the people to make peace with - for they do not know peace, they do not have peace, and they are not capable of living in peace with anyone. Israel wishes to give them a chance even though they do not deserve it, but they want Israel out instead. But instead of Israel to be shown the way out, let the visitors leave. Let the so-called peace deal stop. It's either the Palestinians agree to become part of Israel - in a united states of Israel - or they find their way back to where they originated from. Presently I'm going through their koran to find out what it says about them, but I've not yet found one. Until then, they cannot be allowed to dominate the land that is allotted to another.
    In Response

    by: G244 from: London
    March 19, 2014 8:26 AM
    Godwin, this is probably the worst comment I have ever seen relating to this subject. This is why you are wrong:

    1) (from The Economist, August 1913) Israeli military order 1651 - 10 years prison for Palestinians for throwing stones at people or at property (there are also, at the time of writing, about 193 minors in jail) - does this seem fair? Would you go as far as claiming that they are all cold-blooded murderers?
    2) "They learn nothing" - This is either:
    A) a pointless exercise in rhetoric to reinforce your groundless argument
    B) you actually believe that it is true, extending a gross generalization to a group of people which you obviously know nothing about. This only reinforcing your own ignorance of course

    Now to the central argument of your commentary: that the Palestinians do not seek for peace:
    1) UN resolution 194 - granted by the international community, the Palestinian 'right of return' - this was never accepted by Israel
    2) The Israeli line of negotiation has not changed since Camp David talks - essentially they pledge only for:
    - annulation of the right of return
    - keeping their (illegal) occupied territories

    The last point is particularly important, and an insult to the international community. Think that Israel's housing minister (Uri Ariel) lives in the West Bank! They control the roads, all the irrigable land, thus making it impossible for the Palestinians to develop a functioning economy if they cannot transport goods and services etc.
    3) This shows that Israel has no commitment to compromise, our negotiate, since it will (and has not) deviate from such a policy. Would you call that a commitment for peace?
    Then you talk of 'visitors' - are you referring to the Palestinians? You say that they should 'find their way back to where they originated from'. I find this line simply infuriating, and had you not said this, maybe I would have refrained from commenting on this. The Palestinian people, did live in the Palestinian mandate before the birth of the state of Israel. The birth of the state of Israel was the consequence of immigration from Zionists. I do not assert that what Zionists did was wrong, but that Palestinians are 'visitors' is simply not true. And if you refer to to an ancient religious belief that the land of Israel rightfully belonged to the Jewish people you should know that Jerusalem is also a holy site for many Muslims. Besides, Theodor Herzl and the founders of Zionism thought to colonize the Palestinian mandate for political reasons, not on the basis of religious right-hood.

    I could say much, much more, but I think I will stop ranting now ...
    Just one more thing, please do not look through 'their koran' for answers, open up a history book, do some reasearch ....
    In Response

    by: Kisumi from: Japan
    March 17, 2014 4:58 PM
    Godwin, "Palestinians" are just foil for Arabs... and Arabs are Arabs... be it in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia... the problem with Israel is too much liberalism... in fact so much benevolent liberalism that they live like exiles in their own country. Instead of being assertive, Israelis try to accommodate the venomous snake that will kill them. They should take back their territory show the Philistines the door to Jordan and put an end to this charade once and for all.

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