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

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.