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

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media 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.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
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 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.

All About America

AppleAndroid