News / Middle East

Stalemate Marks Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process in 2011

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, left, shakes hands with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (file photo).
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, left, shakes hands with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (file photo).
Scott Bobb

2011 was a year of stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. International mediators tried to revive direct peace talks amid political uncertainties caused by rifts in the Palestinian leadership and popular uprisings in several Arab nations.

The Palestinian Authority, frustrated over the stalled peace talks, applied for full membership in the United Nations. Its case is pending, though it faces stiff U.S. opposition.

But the Palestinians successfully gained admission to the United Nations cultural organization UNESCO, angering Israel and the United States.

Israel took steps to build more housing in areas captured during the 1967 Mideast War.

The Mideast Quartet of big-power mediators tried, unsuccessfully, to get Israel and the Palestinians to resume direct negotiations.

Israel said it was prepared to resume direct talks without pre-conditions, but the Palestinians said direct negotiations were impossible as long as Israel continued to build settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The head of the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA) research group, Mahdi Abdel Hadi, said Palestinians are pessimistic about the prospects for peace.

"We realize that for the coming decade we will continue bleeding because there is no progress in any direction," he said. "Washington is not there, Europe is too busy, the Arab world is divided. And with this labor pain of the new system in the making we will continue confronting and challenging on the ground the Israelis."

Israeli columnist Danny Rubinstein has similar misgivings about the Israelis.

"Because this government is not ready to do anything," Israelis also are pessimistic, he said. "And the problem is not government. The problem is the people. The Israeli people have become more and more hardliner, right wing."

Fatah, Hamas

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah movement sought to end the rift with rival Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip. Leaders of the two groups said they wanted to reconcile and hold new elections in the Palestinian territories.

Israel said it would abandon peace moves if the Palestinians reconciled because Hamas wants to destroy Israel.

But the Israeli government released more than 1,000 Palestinians in exchange for one Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, who had been captured by Hamas five years before.

Gaza-based analyst Mahmoud Ajrami said the exchange boosted Hamas's popularity and weakened support for Abbas among Palestinians.

"This gives more hope and reality that with resistance, and only with resistance, we can restore our rights," he said.

Arab Spring

Concern grew in Israel over the expanding power of Islamists following popular uprisings in a number of Arab states.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he feared the winds of change would fuel anti-Israel sentiment and threaten stability.

"The whole area around us is unstable," he said. "It is a political and security earthquake whose outcome we still do not know. In this kind of situation, more than any other time, we have to make sure that we have strong, fundamental security."

Columnist Rubinstein disagreed, explaining that the Islamist parties that won in Tunisia and Egypt have popular support and that Israel and the West should engage them.

"I am not afraid of them because I know they are not crazy," he said. "They are not Taliban and they are not al-Qaida. They are like the Turkish Islamic movement. They are practical."

PASSIA's Abdel Hadi said the Islamist movement was changing and beginning to participate in democratic society, but that it wouldn't abandon the Palestinian cause.

"We have been the core of the Arab cause," he said. "Since World War I, 1914, the Arab revolt of 1916, 1917, all the process, with Gamal Abdel Nasser, with the political Islam, we have been there at the core."

Analysts disagreed on how the popular uprisings in Arab states might change the Middle East. But most agreed that the Israeli-Palestinian deadlock did not bode well for peace and stability in the region.

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

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

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