News / Middle East

US Awaits Israeli Assurances, Delays Mitchell Trip

Multimedia

Audio

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that the Obama administration is still awaiting assurances from Israel on its commitment to the regional peace process following last week's announcement on new Jewish housing in East Jerusalem.  In the meantime, a trip to the region by the U.S. Middle East envoy is on hold.

Click to Listen:

Download/Play Audio File

Clinton is discounting reports of a major crisis in U.S.-Israel relations, but she is making clear that she wants to see substantial gestures by the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to repair damage from last week's housing announcement.

The Israeli government angered and embarrassed the Obama administration a week ago when it announced, as Vice President Joe Biden began a visit to Israel, that it will build 1,600 new Jewish housing units in mainly-Arab East Jerusalem.

The United States is seeking assurances from Mr. Netanyahu that such an incident will not be repeated, as well as pledges that it is prepared to discuss all of the core issues of the Middle East peace process - including Jerusalem - in talks with the Palestinians.

At a press event with Irish Foreign Minister Michael Martin, Clinton said the U.S. administration is in very active consultations with Israel over steps by the Jewish state that "would demonstrate the requisite commitment" to the peace process.

She said that when the U.S. side has more to say about those contacts, it will share it with the media.   Clinton dismissed a reporter's suggestion that the housing issue has driven U.S.-Israel relations to their lowest point in decades.

"We are both committed to a two-state solution," she said. "But that doesn't mean that we're going to agree.  We don't agree with our international partners on everything.  And with respect to the announcement that occurred when the vice president was there, we've expressed our dismay and disappointment and we have, as I said earlier engaged in consultations with our partners in the peace effort - the Israelis and the Palestinians - about the way forward."

Administration officials say U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell, who was to have begun a trip to the region Monday, has postponed his departure because of the housing controversy.

Mitchell, a former Senate Majority Leader, led a successful U.S. mediation effort on Northern Ireland in the 1990s.  Irish Foreign Minister Martin said he is confident that Mitchell can prevail in his Middle East task as well.

"We do know that your friend, Senator George Mitchell, who, of course, played such a valuable role in Northern Ireland, has applied himself diligently and with great attention to detail," he said. "We know his patience, his legendary patience, in situations like this.  And as we have said in many international forays, we in Ireland have great confidence in his capacity and your capacity to see this through."

Martin said Ireland supports the early convening of the indirect Israeli-Palestinian "proximity" talks that Mitchell had hoped to begin this week.  He also said that Israel's "siege" of Gaza had strengthened the hand of Hamas and other extremists in the region, while undermining moderates.

Clinton said she had no disagreement with Martin on the need to alleviate suffering in Gaza.  But she said that if Hamas wants to play a part in peace talks, it needs to meet international terms by renouncing violence and accepting Israel's right to exist.   

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid