News / USA

Obama Prepared to Send Kerry to Mideast for Talks on Gaza

Obama Prepared to Send Kerry to Middle East for Talks on Gazai
Scott Stearns
July 18, 2014 10:47 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says he is prepared to send Secretary of State John Kerry to the Middle East to help end violence between Israel and Hamas fighters in Gaza. As VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports, U.S. officials face a far different political climate than the last cease-fire in Gaza two years ago.
Obama Prepared to Send Kerry to Middle East for Talks on Gaza

U.S. President Barack Obama said he is prepared to send Secretary of State John Kerry to the Middle East to help end violence between Israel and Hamas fighters in Gaza. But American officials face a far different political climate than the last cease-fire in Gaza two years ago.

With Israeli troops across the border in Gaza, international mediators are trying to revive Egyptian efforts to negotiate an end to the fighting.

Obama said he told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that U.S. officials are working hard to return to a November 2012 cease-fire.

"Secretary Kerry is working to support Egypt's initiative to pursue that outcome. I told Prime Minister Netanyahu that John is prepared to travel to the region following additional consultations," Obama said.

Hamas opposition

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has met with Arab League officials about the Egyptian plan. But it is opposition from Hamas that is blocking progress - as militant leaders dismiss the plan as "not worth the ink it was written with" -- in their words -- because it includes no relief from the Israeli and Egyptian blockade of Gaza's borders.

Hamas' refusal of the deal shows how much has changed since the fall of former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood, which helped broker the 2012 cease-fire.

"Hamas certainly had a honeymoon with Egypt during the reign or rule of Morsi and the Brotherhood. And that honeymoon is clearly over," said former U.S. ambassador Adam Ereli.

Egypt's role

It is over largely because the new Egyptian president, former general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has vowed to eliminate the Muslim Brotherhood and is thus far less sympathetic to its Hamas allies.

"Hamas doesn't see Egypt as an honest broker because Hamas -- as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood -- is not treated as a legitimate player by the Egyptian government," said American University professor Guy Ziv. "And I think that because of the lack of trust between Egypt and Hamas it's going to be very difficult to get a cease-fire going that both Hamas and Israel would be OK with."

That leaves Hamas with few other options as Israel continues to move forward.

"To be a broker you've got to be acceptable to both parties. Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab countries with peace treaties with Israel. So they have credibility with the Israelis, justified credibility," Ereli said. "If Hamas doesn't think that Egypt is sufficiently neutral in this they're going to be fighting for a long time."

So U.S. officials say Secretary Kerry will focus much of his diplomatic effort on countries with influence over Hamas, including Turkey and Qatar.

You May Like

Isolation, Despair Weigh on Refugees in Remote German Camp

Refugees resettled near village of Holzdorf deep in German forestland say there is limited interaction with public, mutual feelings of distrust

Britons Divided Over Bombing IS

Surveys show Europeans generally support more military action against Islamic State militants, but sizable opposition exists in Britain

Russia Blacklists Soros Foundations as 'Undesirable'

Russian officials add Soros groups to a list of foreign and international organizations banned from giving grants to Russian partners

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Not Again from: Canada
July 20, 2014 5:59 PM
Sending secretary Kerry to the ME, without a clear understanding of the situation, and the required fixes, will just make the situation worse. Mr. Kerry by one of his "off the stage comments" demonstrate that he does not understand, or wants to understand, the basics of terrorism.
TERRORISM = The number one common denominator that characterizes terrorist, and their ethnicity makes no difference, is that they fight using civilian populations as shields, deliberately placing weapons, carrying out attacks from behind innocent civilian populations; the number two basic fundamental is that they plan, carry out, and deliberately target the civilian population of those that oppose their rule; the number three basic fundamental is that terrorists use and even attempt to increase the casualties of civilians for their propaganda purposes, and it does not matter if it is their or their opposition's civilians are the victims; and the fourth basic fundamental is that they carry out very terrible repraisals against their own or their opposition's civilians.
Terrorists' other fundamental is the very culture that they follow, irrespective of their religion or atheism, a culture of extreme violence. We saw these fundamentals in Angola, Cuba, Columbia, Nicaragua, Argentina, Viet-Nam, Laos, Cambodia; now we see it Nigera (Boko Haram), we see these fundamental in Iraq (IS et al), we see these fundamentals in Syria, we see these fundamentals in (Gaza Hamas et al), we see these fundamentals on the Sinai (Hamas et al), we see these fundamentals in Somalia (Al-shabab), we see these fundamentals in Mali, in Libya, Egypt, Ukraine...etc.
The statement, that Kerry voiced, off Camera, unfortunately his microphone was on, shows in my view a a clear lack of comprehension of the fundamentals or he needs to deal with perceived bias.
As in many other terrorist driven conflicts, the total unilateral withdrawl from Gaza, by a great soldier, but, inept political leader, did not bring about peace; on the contrary, since the unilateral unconditional withdrawl from Gaza, three wars have followed, the violence escalated to the point that Israel was forced to impose an embargo; the violence further escalated that even Egypt was forced to put an embargo, against Gaza which has dramatically reduced the violence on the Sinai.
Nothwithstanding the embargoes, Hamas was able to build massive terrorist infrastructure, rather than build housing/schools for Gaza civilians; Hamas was able to acquire massive numbers of weapons, and bring into Gaza huge quantities of precursors to build a significant armaments industry, all of it was done at the expense of the wellbeing normal Palestinian civilians. Never mind the masive demands for cement/concrete from Hamas, all of it to build bunkers and tunnels to attack Israeli civilians.
In my opinion, the recent off camera, remark by Kerry is very concerning, because it shows a mindset that is not adequate to resolve any conflict, less so if terrorists, like Hamas, are involved. The key to solving the Gaza terrorist driven conflict, is DEMILITARIZATION of Gaza, the democratization of Gaza, coupled with the positive development of Gaza, thus creating a better future for the Gaza Palestinians. A cesefire with no demilitarization, will last less than two years.

by: Saul Monella
July 18, 2014 8:43 PM
Oh Boy, Sending Kerry that'll fix everything. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs