News / Middle East

Palestinian Negotiating Team Resigns

FILE - Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat speaks during an interview with Reuters in Ramallah, Aug. 11, 2013.
FILE - Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat speaks during an interview with Reuters in Ramallah, Aug. 11, 2013.
VOA News
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians appear to have hit another stumbling block, this time with the resignation of the Palestinian negotiating team.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Wednesday told Egyptian television his negotiators resigned due to a lack of progress. He told CBC television he would try to convince them to reconsider or put a new team in place. Abbas said in either case, any further talks would have to be delayed.

In an interview Wednesday with Reuters, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat refused to elaborate on his reported resignation but said talks with Israel were going nowhere.

"In reality, the negotiations stopped last week, to be honest, in light of the settlement announcements last week," he said. "We face on a daily basis Israeli behavior and actions that are related to settlement and the killing in cold blood, settler terrorism under the protection of the Israeli soldiers, home demolition, to propose laws in the Israeli Knesset that aim to divide the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque etc. All the Israeli behaviors whether on the negotiation table or on the ground if they show anything they show one thing and that is, making Kerry fail and they [Israelis] alone should be held responsible.''

Israel's Housing Ministry announced plans Tuesday for about 20,000 new homes in contested parts of Jerusalem and the West Bank. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later reversed the decision, saying it would hurt Israel's efforts to ensure world powers maintain stiff sanctions on Iran over Tehran's controversial nuclear program.

Still, on Wednesday, Israel's minister for strategic affairs, Yuval Steinitz, tried to make clear the prime minister's order was in no way a change in policy.

"Prime Minster Netanyahu made it very clear, that we are going to release some prisoners but there is no freeze in the settlements. It's not just theoretically, we will build in the settlements during the negotiations. I don't suggest that this is kind of agreement, but let me be very accurate, this was clearly understood by all three sides, the Israelis the Palestinians the Americans,'' said Steinitz.

Israel's continued settlement building has been a major point of contention during the resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians.

Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians rose again Wednesday following the fatal stabbing of an Israeli soldier in northern Israel.

Israeli officials say they have arrested a 16-year-old Palestinian in connection with the incident, which took place on a bus in the town of Afula.

You May Like

Pakistan Among Developing Countries Hit Hard by Global Warming

Pakistani officials hope developed nations agree to scale back emissions, offer help in dealing with climate change

Video Speed, Social Media Shape Counterterrorism Probes

Speed is critical in effort to prevent subsequent attacks; demographics of extremists lend themselves to communicating, establishing profiles on digital platforms

Islamic State Oil Trade Seduces Friends, Foes Alike

Terrorist group rakes in up to $500 million a year in sales to customers such as Syrian government, US-supported rebels and Turkey

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigationsi
Katherine Gypson
December 01, 2015 10:06 PM
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigations

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Russia Marks World AIDS Day With Grim News

While HIV infection rates have steadied or even declined in many European countries, the caseload has grown rapidly in Russia, as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow. Over half of the new infections were transmitted through injection drug use.

Video Pakistan Hit Hard by Global Warming

As world leaders meet in Paris to craft a new global agreement aimed at cutting climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions, many developing countries are watching closely for the final results. While most developing nations contribute much less to global warming than developed countries, they often feel the effects to a disproportionate degree. As Saud Zafar reports from Karachi, one such nation is Pakistan. Aisha Khalid narrates his report.

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.

VOA Blogs