News / Middle East

    Obama Makes Appeal for Extension of Mideast Peace Talks

    U.S. President Barack Obama answers a reporter's question during a joint news conference with South Korean President Park Geun-hye at the Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, April 25, 2014.
    U.S. President Barack Obama answers a reporter's question during a joint news conference with South Korean President Park Geun-hye at the Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, April 25, 2014.
    VOA News
    President Barack Obama says it may be time for a pause in Middle East peace talks while both Israelis and Palestinians consider their options.

    Obama told reporters Friday in Seoul during a visit to South Korea that it is still in the interest of both sides to seek peace, but that neither side has shown the political will to make tough decisions.

    He made the comments one day after Israel's Security Cabinet decided to suspend peace negotiations with the Palestinians in response to a plan by Palestinian rivals Fatah and Hamas to reconcile and form a unity government.

    Obama said the Palestinian decision to unite the two factions is "unhelpful," but the president said his administration will not give up on Secretary of State John Kerry's push for peace, despite the latest setback.

    Following a six-hour meeting Thursday, the Israeli Cabinet said in a statement Israel will "respond to unilateral Palestinian action with a series of measures."
     
    FILE - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in his office in Jerusalem.FILE - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in his office in Jerusalem.
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    FILE - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in his office in Jerusalem.
    FILE - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in his office in Jerusalem.
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had earlier criticized the announcement, saying Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who represents Fatah, is complicating ongoing peace talks.

    "Instead of moving into peace with Israel, he is moving into peace with Hamas and he has to choose," he said.  "Does he want peace with Hamas or peace with Israel.  You can have one, but not the other."

    Netanyahu called Hamas a "murderous terror organization that calls for the destruction of Israel."   Israel, the United States and the European Union consider Hamas a terror group.
     
    File Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh speaks to the media during a news conference in Gaza City.File Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh speaks to the media during a news conference in Gaza City.
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    File Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh speaks to the media during a news conference in Gaza City.
    File Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh speaks to the media during a news conference in Gaza City.
    Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh says he was not surprised by the Israeli response.

    "The Israeli position was expected. This is occupation, and absolutely they do not want the Palestinian people to be united and want the division to continue," he said.

    Palestinian legislator Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouti said the reaction by Netanyahu was "very strange".

    "When we are divided [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu claims that he can not find a Palestinian that can represent all Palestinians and thus he cannot make peace and when we are united he claims that he cannot make peace with a unified Palestinian front," he noted. "In my opinion it is Mr. Netanyahu that is the problem, it is his extreme government that is the problem. Mr. Netanyahu has chosen settlements over peace."

    Hamas and Fatah split violently in 2007, and have since divided their people between two sets of rulers.

    It remains unclear how this plan would succeed where past attempts have repeatedly failed.  It also adds new complications to U.S. efforts to mediate a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

    In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Washington is "disappointed" by the announcement, and she warned it could seriously complicate peace efforts.  

     "It is hard to see how Israel can be expected to negotiate with a government that does not believe in its right to exist," she said.

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    Comments
         
    by: aNONTDH from: 15904
    April 26, 2014 3:21 PM
    Kissinger, US intelligence community endorse
    “World Without Israel”

    By Kevin Barrett

    Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been vilified in the Western media for daring to imagine “a world without Israel.”
    But according to news reports, Henry Kissinger and sixteen American intelligence agencies agree that in the near future, Israel will no longer exist.
    The New York Post quotes Kissinger “word for word”: In 10 years, there will be no more Israel.
    Kissinger's statement is flat and unqualified. He is not saying that Israel is in danger, but could be saved if we just gave it additional trillions of dollars and smashed enough of its enemies with our military. He is not saying that if we elect Netanyahu's old friend Mitt Romney, Israel could somehow be salvaged. He is not saying that if we bomb Iran, Israel might survive. He is not offering a way out. He is simply stating a fact: In 2022, Israel will no longer exist.
    The US Intelligence Community agrees, though perhaps not on the precise 2022 expiration date. Sixteen US intelligence agencies with a combined budget over USD70 billion have issued an 82-page analysis titled “Preparing for a Post-Israel Middle East.”
    The US intelligence report observes that the 700,000 Israeli settlers illegally squatting on land stolen in 1967 - land that the entire world agrees belongs to Palestine, not Israel - are not going to pack up and leave peacefully. Since the world will never accept their ongoing presence on stolen land, Israel is like South Africa in the late 1980s.

    by: Malody from: USA
    April 25, 2014 4:48 PM
    hey when the Philistines Authority align themselves with a jihadi Islamic terrorist organization - that is it... the game of hoodwinking the West is over. The West Bank is an Israeli sovereign territory and they should assert more control of their own land... and do US all a favor and show the Philistines their way to Jordan... that is their country. i don't want to go an my yearly pilgrimage to Jerusalem and be stripped searched by a lascivious Philistine Islamic terrorist... enough is enough..!!! out the Philistines go

    by: rbockman from: Philadelphia
    April 25, 2014 1:57 PM
    impossible situation for the Jews, how can you trust a people who decapitate, stone people to death, teach their children to hate, perform female genital mutilation, murder their daughters and sisters for some idea of honor

    by: meanbill from: USA
    April 25, 2014 10:01 AM
    The problem with the Middle East peace talks is; -- That Israel keeps moving the goalposts and demanding the Palestinians accept their terms, without even considering the Palestinian positions on their future, or their statehood? -- Israel keeps forever expanding, at the expense of the Palestinians?
    In Response

    by: ajkl from: USA
    April 25, 2014 2:49 PM
    If you mean recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and renouncing violence against civilians, I can see why Israel has been compromising on these issues. Oops, I mean these are the goalposts that the Palestinians / Hamas think are moveable. When will the world and moderate Muslims say enough is enough with Muslims killing off their own people (everyday we read about a new suicide bombing) and spewing hate?

    by: G. Von Richter from: New York State
    April 25, 2014 9:54 AM
    We have to keep our eye on the ball with Israel. All attention is given to this disagreement concerning unity. What we also need to watch for is the Israeli's about to strike Iran as they have promised to do since they could not convince the USA to do it. Are we being entertained by unity news while a big military event is about to unfold?

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