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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid