News

    US Welcomes Israeli Settlement Move, Urges Palestinians to Enter Negotiations

    Multimedia

    Audio

    The Obama administration says the 10-month moratorium on new settlement construction starts in the West Bank announced by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday falls short of the complete freeze.  But the administration is welcoming the action and is urging Israel and the Palestinians to seize on the opportunity to resume peace talks. 

    The tone of the Obama administration's reaction to the settlement freeze was set by U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell, who told reporters that while the United States shares Arab concerns about the limitations of Israel's gesture, it is more than any Israeli government has ever done.

    "In the moratorium just announced by the government of Israel, there will be no new housing construction starts during the 10-month period.," said George Mitchell. "None.  There will be no approval of any housing projects during the 10-month moratorium.  None.  No Israeli government has ever taken this step and nothing remotely like this occurred during the Bush administration."

    The U.S. envoy said he will return to the region in the near future to try to build on momentum generated by the Israeli gesture toward a resumption of negotiations with the Palestinians.

    Mitchell said the United States is sympathetic to Arab concerns, expressed in early criticism of the Netanyahu announcement.  The freeze allows for buildings already under construction in West Bank settlements to be completed and does not apply to East Jerusalem, which Palestinians want as their future capital.

    But Mitchell cited a statement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the Israeli announcement helps "move forward" toward a resolution of the conflict and that the way to achieve that is through good faith negotiations.

    "Nobody gets everything they want in a negotiation seeking to resolve a conflict like this," he said. "There has to be a willingness on everyone's part to give more than they want to give and to accept less than they want to get.  That applies to everyone in the process."

    The former U.S. Senate Majority leader said the Obama administration continues to press the Palestinians to improve prospects for peace by bolstering security and curbing anti-Israel incitement, and for Arab nations to build relationships with Israel in trade, culture and other areas short of the full normalization envisaged in a comprehensive peace.

    Mitchell said he is not discouraged about his mission's recent setbacks, including acrimonious exchanges over a recent U.N. report alleging possible war crimes in last year's Gaza conflict, citing the example of his successful Northern Ireland peace efforts in the 1990s.

    "In a real sense, we had 700 days of failure and one day of success," said Mitchell. "I know that, if anything, the Mideast is more difficult and more complex.  But no matter where the conflict is or what it's about, if you're serious about peace, you can't take as final the first 'no,' the second 'no' or even the hundredth 'no.'"

    In her statement, Secretary Clinton promised an "unwavering" U.S. commitment to a two-state solution, based on 1967 lines with agreed land swaps, that will create an independent and viable Palestinian state and an Israel with secure and recognized borders.  
     

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora