News / Middle East

Obama Calling for Tough Decisions in Israeli-Palestinian Talks

Obama Calling for Tough Decisions in Israeli-Palestinian Talksi
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
Scott Stearns
March 05, 2014 10:07 PM
President Obama is more directly pushing Israeli and Palestinian leaders toward a framework for peace talks, calling for compromise by all sides. But as VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports, there is little progress.
President Obama is more directly pushing Israeli and Palestinian leaders toward a framework for peace talks, calling for compromise by all sides.  But there is little progress in the U.S.-led negotiations on a two-state solution because of differences over Israeli settlements and security.

Obama says it is time for some tough decisions over "profound" issues in the Middle East.

"It is my belief that ultimately it is still possible to create two states - a Jewish state of Israel and a state of Palestine in which people are living side by side in peace and security.  But it is difficult and it requires compromise on all sides," he said.

With less than two months left in U.S.-led negotiations, Obama is weighing-in more directly with both sides on an issue he has come to late in his presidency and with limited influence, says former U.S. ambassador Adam Ereli.

"The relationship between Netanyahu and Obama is so bad it is hard to see the U.S. having the influence with the Israelis that we need," he said.

Chief among the obstacles are Israeli security concerns.  U.S. officials say they are working to satisfy those concerns with "the best ideas in the Pentagon and the best technology."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not convinced.

"The best way to guarantee peace is to be strong.  And that is what the people of Israel expect me to do - to stand strong against criticism, against pressure, stand strong to secure the future of the one and only Jewish state," he said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says a secure future means working with Palestinians who understand "the tremendous benefits of peace and the great costs of failure."

"President Abbas has been genuinely committed against violence," he said. "And his own security forces have worked closely with Israel in order to prevent violence against Israeli citizens."

It is a familiar problem for Washington, says American University professor Hillary Mann Leverett.

"As former Secretary of State Kissinger used to say, 'You know, the Israelis are either so strong they do not feel any urgency or they are so weak they are too scared to make concessions.'  So this is a problem, a dilemma that we have had for decades," she said.

At best these talks would result in a framework for direct negotiations on the status of Jerusalem and new Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, both issues which grow more difficult with time.

"For both Palestinians and Israelis the longer there is not a settlement, the longer people are in Gaza, in the camps, in the West Bank, the longer those people are without a country without a state without a future without hope, the greater the chance for violence," said former U.S. ambassador Adam Ereli.

President Obama follows up with a White House meeting later this month with President Abbas as Prime Minister Netanyahu calls on Palestinians to join an accord that he says could "catapult the region forward" on energy and education.

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