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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid