News / Middle East

US Envoy Fails to Convince Palestinians to Return to Negotiations

Palestinian leaders say they will not return to negotiations unless Israel freezes construction on Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Multimedia

Audio

U.S. envoy George Mitchell has failed to convince Palestinian leaders to return to negotiations with Israel.   Talks have been stalled for more than a year and Mitchell is in the region urging both sides to take steps to get negotiations going again. 

For President Barack Obama's special envoy for Middle East peace, George Mitchell, it was another frustrating visit. 

He met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank town of Ramallah Friday for several hours, and left with no commitment from the Palestinians on returning to talks.  Mitchell did not speak to reporters.  News of his failure to convince them to resume negotiations came from chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.

Mr. Erekat said President Obama has been pushing for a final agreement, something he says the Palestinians also want.  He said Mitchell called on Palestinian officials to restart negotiations, and he said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also wants a resumption of talks.  But, Erekat said, this is where the disagreement is.  He said the Palestinians want negotiations based on where talks with the previous Israeli administration left off.

Palestinian leaders say they will not return to negotiations unless Israel freezes construction on Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. 

Israel has called a partial, temporary freeze and says it wants negotiations without preconditions.

The Palestinians and the former administration under Prime Minister Ehud Olmert held talks, and Mr. Olmert has since said both sides came close to reaching an agreement.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, who took office last year, has criticized the Palestinians for adding what he says are new conditions that they had never put before. 

The Palestinians accuse Israel of hampering their plans for a future state by continuing to build on settlements that sit on lands in the West Bank that were captured by Israel during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.  Israel has never annexed the West Bank, but successive governments have encouraged hundreds of thousands of Israelis to move there.

The Palestinians also want an end to Israeli construction in East Jerusalem, which they claim as the capital of their future state.

Mr. Mitchell has made numerous trips to the region since President Obama took office a year ago, hoping to bridge differences and get both sides back to the table. 

The latest visit came as pessimism grows over the future of the peace process.  Mitchell's meeting with Palestinian officials on Friday happened a day after Time magazine published an interview that quoted President Obama as saying his administration overestimated its ability to persuade Israel and the Palestinians to engage in a meaningful conversation.

He told the magazine that if his administration had anticipated some of the political problems, it might not have raised expectations as high as it did.

You May Like

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid