News / Middle East

Israel Offers Panetta No New Commitments on Peace

Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak (R) walks with U.S. Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta during an official guard of honor ceremony at the Kirya base in Tel Aviv October 3, 2011.
Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak (R) walks with U.S. Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta during an official guard of honor ceremony at the Kirya base in Tel Aviv October 3, 2011.
Luis Ramirez

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta received no new promises from Israeli leaders after he urged them to do more to make peace with the Palestinians and improve relations with other nations in the region.  

It is Leon Panetta's first trip here as U.S. Defense Secretary. He came with a warning for the Jewish state: that it risks further isolation if it does not improve relations with other nations in the region following the popular revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa.

In remarks en route to Tel Aviv, Panetta said the United States wants to help Israel improve damaged relations with Egypt and Turkey.

“It's pretty clear that at this dramatic time in the Middle East, when there have been so many changes, that it is not a good situation for Israel to become increasingly isolated - and that's what's happening,” he said.

Panetta received a cordial welcome at the Israeli defense ministry on Monday - and a polite reply from Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

“I fully agree that we have to look for any reasonable and proper way to ease tensions with Turkey, with Egypt, to find a way to resume negotiations in a sincere and effective manner with the Palestinians,” said Barak.

But he made no new promises.

"It is clear that in the world as a whole there are many who would like to see Israel cornered into a certain kind of isolation and it is clear to us that we have a responsibility to try to moderate, to ease tensions with all neighbors," he added.

Barak said Israel is ready for negotiations and wants the Palestinians to come to the table with no conditions.  

He criticized the Palestinian leadership for unilaterally submitting a bid for full membership at the United Nations, saying the action proves that there are limits to the Palestinians' capacity to navigate the world.

The U.S. government opposes the bid and says it would veto a resolution if it came to a vote in the United Nations Security Council.

Secretary Panetta held closed-door meetings with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank town of Ramallah, and later with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

 

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs