News / Middle East

Israel, Abbas Spar Over Palestinian Security Steps in West Bank

FILE - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (C) speaks in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Dec. 31, 2013.
FILE - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (C) speaks in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Dec. 31, 2013.
Reuters
Israel and the Palestinians disagreed sharply on Tuesday over the effectiveness of security measures by the regional Palestinian administration in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, deepening doubt about peace prospects in U.S.-brokered talks.

Foreign powers have been helping build up Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's security services in the West Bank to prevent militant attacks on Israelis and ward off any challenge from breakaway Hamas Islamists who control the Gaza Strip.

Relative calm is considered important to any chance of Israel and the Palestinians striking a long elusive deal for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, next to Israel. But the two sides remain far apart on key terms.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon poured scorn on the commitment of the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank under interim peace deals, to follow through in moves against Palestinian militants.

“We counted 1,040 cases that were handled by the Palestinian security services in 2013. How many of them went to trial? Zero,” Yaalon said at an international conference hosted by Tel Aviv University's INSS think-tank.

In the same period, Yaalon said, Israel had arrested some 3,000 Palestinians, many of whom were later imprisoned.

Yaalon is a stalwart of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who balks at Palestinian calls to remove Jewish settlements from the West Bank. Yaalon ratcheted up acrimony this month with an Israeli newspaper quoting him as dismissing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the peace patron, as “messianic”.

After Yaalon's speech, the conference aired a videotaped interview with Abbas, who said he would stand firm on his statehood demands and could hold Hamas to a peace accord.

He did not say how. Hamas, which spurns permanent co-existence with Israel, won a 2006 Palestinian legislative election and a year later ejected Abbas's faction from Gaza.

'Utmost Challenge'

Asked what his administration was doing to maintain West Bank calm, Abbas said: “All the security forces are devoted to performing their duty to prevent arms smuggling and their use within the Palestinian Authority or Israel.”

“This is the utmost challenge that the security forces are dealing with. It is not a secret that this is done with the full cooperation of the Israeli and the American security apparatuses,” Abbas said.

A U.S. official briefed on the West Bank situation was hard put to explain the disagreement between Abbas and Yaalon.

“It's true that we haven't seen trials” of Palestinian suspects held by Abbas's administration, the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. But, the official said, that did not mean there was no Palestinian security enforcement.

Asked if that meant Abbas's forces might be dealing with suspects away from public view, the U.S. official said “yes”.

With the peace talks at a virtual standstill, two surveys, by the INSS and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR), released on Tuesday found that 67 percent of Israelis and 70 percent of Palestinians do not believe a permanent peace accord can be reached.

The INSS poll surveyed 1,200 Israeli Jews, while 1,270 Palestinians were interviewed by the PSR in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Both polls have a margin of error of 3 percent.

With a nine-month target date set by Washington expiring in late April, disputes holding up peacemaking have included Israel's insistence on keeping a military and settler presence in the Jordan Valley, the future Palestine's eastern border.

Abbas said Palestinians must control their borders as part of final statehood, but that he was prepared to partner up with Israel as it withdraws, as well as with foreign peacekeepers.

“I think NATO is the suitable third party for this mission,” he said, repeating a proposal for a role by the U.S.-led alliance that he has voiced in the past.

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

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