News / Middle East

Mitchell Heads Back to Middle East to Deal With Settlements 'Dilemma'

A Palestinian youth leads a donkey next to signs leading to Jewish settlements in the northern West Bank, 27 Sep 2010
A Palestinian youth leads a donkey next to signs leading to Jewish settlements in the northern West Bank, 27 Sep 2010

U.S. Middle East Envoy George Mitchell is traveling to the region for urgent talks on what the State Department calls the "dilemma" posed by the expiration of Israel's moratorium on settlement building.  U.S. officials have welcomed Palestinian restraint in not formally breaking off peace talks.

Mitchell will be visiting the Mideast in an effort aimed at salvaging U.S.-brokered direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.  Despite appeals from President Obama, among others, the freeze on most West Bank settlement activity declared by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ten months ago expired late Sunday.

The Israeli leader faced a rebellion within his right-leaning coalition government if he extended the moratorium, while Palestinians had threatened to quit the talks if was not continued.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas created an opening for U.S. emergency diplomacy when he said in Paris that a decision on the negotiations would await consultations with the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Arab League.

In a talk with reporters on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley said Palestinian restraint is appreciated.

Crowley said Mitchell and key aides were flying to the region late Monday for contacts aimed at salvaging the talks, which the spokesman said are widely acknowledged to have made progress since opening in Washington September 2.

"The process is important.  It's vital.  As the parties themselves know, absent these direct negotiations, Israel does not get the security that it needs and deserves, and the Palestinians do not get that state that they want and deserve.  So one way or another, the parties have to find a way to continue direct negotiations," said Crowley.

President Obama, delivering the U.S. policy speech to the General Assembly last week, had urged an extension of the settlement moratorium as well as "tangible steps" by Arab states toward normalization of ties with Israel.

On the sidelines of General Assembly debate Monday, a procession of diplomats urged Israel to extend the freeze, among them British Foreign Secretary William Hague.  "The United Kingdom believes that it is very important for the moratorium on settlements to be continued, to be extended.  This affects the credibility of the negotiations, the viability of the direct talks.  So we do look to Israel to extend that settlement freeze," said Hague.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, whose government has invited Israeli and Palestinian leaders for peace talks in Paris, told reporters it is too soon to pronounce the regional peace process to be in crisis.

"There was no breakdown yesterday," said Kouchner.  "No break.  No big incident, and they are following the process of peace, waiting for the meeting of the Arab League next Saturday.  I think President Abbas was wise enough to tell us yesterday that it is not the end of the peace talks, the direct talks, and Prime Minister Netanyahu was wise enough to advise the settlers not to move too much."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continued consultations on the Middle East on Monday in New York.  Her list of bilateral meetings included one with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem, the first U.S.-Syrian meeting at that level since 2007.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid