News / Middle East

Kerry Convinced Mideast Peace Deal Possible

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat (L) shakes hands with Israel's Justice Minister Tzipi Livni near U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry after announcing further talks at the State Department in Washington July 30, 2013.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat (L) shakes hands with Israel's Justice Minister Tzipi Livni near U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry after announcing further talks at the State Department in Washington July 30, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have agreed to convene again in the Middle East within the next two weeks to begin substantive negotiations toward a comprehensive peace agreement and that he is aiming to help seal a final deal within nine months.

Kerry, speaking alongside Tzipi Livni, Israel’s justice minister, and Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said this week's discussions were "positive and constructive" and he was convinced the two sides could make peace.

After a morning of talks at the White House with U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, Kerry said the two sides had agreed that all of the most contentious issues, such as borders, refugees and the fate of Jerusalem, would be on the table for discussion.

"The parties have agreed here today that all of the final status issues, all of the core issues, and all other issues, are on the table for negotiation.  They are on the table with one simple goal: a view to ending the conflict, ending the claims," Kerry said.

The top American diplomat stressed that both Israelis and Palestinians have "legitimate security concerns," pointing out the United States has worked closely with Palestinian authorities to develop their security force capacity, with "dramatic" results.

"All sides recognize this, Kerry said, "the Arab League, too."

Livni thanked Obama and Kerry for "proving today that failure is not an option."

The Israeli minister said she had traveled to Washington "from a troubled and changing region" and that her government "owed it to the Israeli people" to do everything it can for their security.

"We all know it's going to be hard, with ups and downs.  But I can assure you that in these negotiations it is not our intention to argue about the past, but to create solutions and make decisions for the future," Livni said.

The two days of negotiations in Washington were the first direct peace talks in nearly three years.

Kerry hosted the two sides for dinner Monday night, after urging them to make "reasonable compromises" in the negotiations.  He said the issues at stake are tough, complicated, emotional and symbolic, but that the consequences of not attempting to negotiate would be worse.

For his part, Erekat asserted that no one benefits more from successful talks than the Palestinians.

"I am delighted that all final status issues are on the table and will be resolved without any exceptions.  It's time for the Palestinian people to have an independent, sovereign state of their own," he said.

Former U.S. ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk will be the main American envoy helping guide the talks.  Indyk said Monday he will do his best to achieve Obama's vision of two states living side by side in peace and security.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said earlier that the nine-month time frame for direct negotiations is not a deadline and that the talks will not automatically stop after that period.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to free 104 Palestinian prisoners as a condition to restart the talks.  Israeli media say the prisoners include Palestinians convicted of deadly attacks against Israeli civilians and security forces.

Ultranationalist Israeli Cabinet ministers have said freeing the prisoners would be a reward for terrorism.  But Netanyahu told his ministers the decision was difficult for him and the families of those killed, but necessary to renew the peace process.

Mark Snowiss

Mark Snowiss is a Washington D.C.-based multimedia reporter.  He has written and edited for various media outlets including Pacifica and NPR affiliates in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @msnowiss and on Google Plus

You May Like

Guatemala Mudslide Death Toll Rises to 86

Death toll is expected to continue to rise as emergency crews dig through tons of earth for an estimated 350 people still missing More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

Debris Found in Search for Missing Ship

Objects located Sunday have not yet been confirmed to be from the 240 meter container ship, El Faro, which disappeared in the eye of Hurricane Joaquin, according to US Coast Guard More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 31, 2013 9:56 AM
Middle East peace is possible and most difficult. It is possible because everything is possible to happen, good and bad. But it is most difficult because you cannot force peace on someone else except you want to hostage the person. The Palestinians, especially those in Gaza, refuse to accept peace with Israel. It's like the ceasefire the Nigerian government declared with Boko Haram wherein the sect refused to own up to the declaration leading to more mayhem that took people unawares. If there is going to be a peace deal with the Palestinians, they must themselves be talking of the need for peace, otherwise land borders cannot guarantee peace.

Hamas wants elimination of Israel not just land, whether occupied or not. Hezbollah in the north wants another holocaust since Iran must wipe Israel from world map. What then is the peace deal all about: land boundaries, release of land to Palestinians, not to call the Israeli nation Jewish? All these are window dressing; the real issue is for the Palestinians to renounce the violence against Israel and embrace the much touted peace deal without which two state solution is a sham. It will only mean to liberate Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran to unleash a mayhem on Israel that will make the holocaust look like a child's play. But it is also possible to make peace with the PLO while Gaza will wait until it is matured for it. In which case it will not be recognized as part of Palestine, after all it may well be an extension of Iran just as Alaska is a part of USA.

by: malvina from: louisiana
July 31, 2013 1:16 AM
please read the books of jeremiam chapter32.where jeremiah paid 17 shekels of silver for the land that GOD gave to israel.for these last days its proof its israels land,theres a land deed buried in a clay vase in the holy land,where the recorders of the land deeds saved them.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs