News / Middle East

Negotiators to Meet on Snagged Mideast Peace Talks

Negotiators to Meet on Snagged Mideast Peace Talksi
X
Al Pessin
April 02, 2014 5:25 PM
Both sides in the Middle East peace talks have now stepped back from commitments they made last year that got the process started. And U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who has been determined through many difficult visits to the region, has now canceled plans for another visit though some discussions among negotiators are continuing. VOA’s Al Pessin reports on the implications of the apparent breakdown in the talks.
VOA News
Sources close to the Israeli-Palestinian talks said Israeli, Palestinian and U.S. negotiators are set to meet late Wednesday in an attempt to put the peace talks back on track.
 
A senior State Department official says Washington is keeping up efforts despite "unhelpful steps" taken by both sides in the past day.

The official said Secretary of State John Kerry spoke separately Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The official also told reporters in Brussels that "neither party has given any indication they want to end the negotiations." The source did not say where the low-level talks will be held.

A surprise decision by Abbas on Tuesday to sign more than a dozen international conventions that could give Palestinians greater leverage against Israel left the United States searching for a way to keep the talks alive past an April 29 deadline.
 
Abbas' move came as Kerry's mediation efforts appeared in trouble. The secretary of state had set an April 29 deadline to reach basic outlines of an Israeli-Palestinian deal, but in recent weeks has pushed to extend the talks until the end of the year.
 
Israeli settlements

Palestinian officials have said Israel offered to show "restraint" on settlement building, including suspending government tenders for new construction, if talks are extended into 2015.
 
But the Israeli anti-settlement group Peace Now said such offers are largely meaningless because thousands of settlement apartments have already been planned or are under construction.

The Palestinians seek a complete settlement freeze if negotiations are to be extended.
 
Israel Tuesday renewed a call for contractor bids on more than 700 homes in Gilo, an Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem.
 
The Palestinians, along with much of the international community, view settlement construction as illegal and an obstacle to the creation of their hoped-for state. Israel has built dozens of settlements, now home to more than 550,000 Israelis, on occupied lands.
 
Opposition

Both Abbas and Netanyahu face opposition within their own cabinets to the U.S.-mediated talks and the concessions they could lead to.
 
After Abbas’ announcement Kerry, who has been dogged through many difficult trips to the region cancelled plans for another visit.
 
The moves put on public display the problems negotiators have been having behind closed doors for the past eight months, since Kerry initiated the talks.
 
“The prospects in the medium term, over 2014, of a final status agreement are pretty bleak,” said Jordan Perry, the principal Middle East analyst at the Maplecroft consulting firm in Oxford.
 
“Secretary Kerry has made clear in recent days…that he feels he’s gone really as far as he can in terms of being a mediator between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” he said. “They now have to bridge this impasse.”
 
That view was reflected by a senior State Department official traveling with the secretary in Europe, who said “Ultimately it is up to the parties to take the necessary steps if they really want to go forward.”
 
Pessimism

But senior lecturer Amnon Aran of London’s City University doesn’t expect much.
 
“It seems to me that they have been engaging a bit in a charade, all of them,” he said.
 
Aran said the Israeli and Palestinian leaders have engaged in the talks so as not to anger Kerry and President Barack Obama, not out of a real willingness to deliver the difficult concessions needed to make peace.
 
Aran said this is a rare opportunity to make peace, with Israel motivated by the fast-rising Palestinian population and growing international anger at its decades-long occupation of the West Bank.
 
At the same time, Aran said the Palestinians are motivated by the desire of a new generation to be freed from the restraints of occupation and statelessness.
 
But Aran said while leaders on both sides understand the situation, they and their supporters, and especially their opponents, are not yet ready to act accordingly.
 
“It has not yet been internalized,” he said.  “Actually this episode is different in so far as if there is a collapse there may not be another chance, certainly not another chance under similar favorable circumstances.”
 
Determined

Kerry said he has not given up.
 
“[It is] completely premature to draw any judgments about this at this point in time,” he said.  “There are a lot of different possibilities in play.”
 
He sounded a hopeful note even after Tuesday’s Palestinian announcement and a change in travel plans.
 
Kerry has already twice reduced the goal he set last year – from reaching full agreement by the end of this month, to just reaching a framework accord, down to extending the deadline beyond this month.
 
Now if he resumes his shuttling between Jerusalem and Ramallah the goal will be simply to save the talks, analysts say, and the slim chance they have of achieving a peace that has eluded diplomats for decades.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: val mackenzie from: ontario, canada
April 02, 2014 7:43 PM
I think the UN should give the Palestinians all of the West Bank. Let them name it "Palestine" and declare Jerusalem a world heritage site.

by: Steve Shafit
April 02, 2014 1:48 PM
As long as the Palestinians require a settlement that would leave Israel vulnerable it ain't gonna happen... period

by: Amin from: Texas
April 02, 2014 1:25 PM
The talks have gone on long enough. I can hardly remember the names of all the cities where these peace talks were supposed to bring about a solution -- Oslo, Madrid, Geneva, Camp David, Annapolis, Taba, Sharam El Sheikh, and on and on. Israel is not committed to a two state solution. The US should just step aside and let the chips fall where they should at the UN.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More