News / Middle East

Will Gaza Crisis Force Israelis, Palestinians Back to Lasting Peace Talks?

Mohamed Elshinnawi

As Gaza truce talks unfold in Cairo, the Obama administration again is pushing for a broader approach to the Palestinian-Israeli stalemate.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Israelis and Palestinians to take advantage of the Egyptian-sponsored Gaza truce and adopt a far-reaching goal that would provide security for Israel and a better life and greater freedoms for the Palestinians.
 "I believe that the situation now that has evolved will concentrate people's minds on the need to get back to the negotiations and try and resolve the issues of the two states," Kerry said in an interview Thursday with the BBC.
Israel and the Palestinians have sent delegations to Cairo to directly negotiate the possibility of a long-term truce following a four-week war in Gaza that claimed more than 1,900 lives on both sides.

Peacemaking plan

Ori Nir, a spokesperson for Americans for Peace Now, said that the U.S. should lead the way toward credible peacemaking to bring the Palestinian Authority back into final-status negotiations with Israel.
"Having signed a reconciliation agreement with Hamas earlier this year, the PLO is well-positioned to negotiate on behalf of all the Palestinians, to make hard decisions around the negotiating table, and to deliver when time comes to implement a peace agreement," said Nir.
Nir said that while the conflict inflicted a heavy human toll, Palestinians are seeing, once again, that violence will not defeat Israel and cannot improve the quality of their lives or deliver a peace agreement.
On the other hand, Nir said, "Israelis have seen, once again, that military power cannot bring about the capitulation of the Palestinian people or force them to abandon their aspirations for freedom and self-determination in a state of their own."
Nir said he believes that leaders on both sides find the massive civilian death toll and extensive destruction of Gaza unsettling and feel pressure to think differently and move from the mode of conflict to one of solution.
"I think the U.S. has now an opportunity to apply pressure and may be able to convince Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accept some security arrangements that could give life to the two-state solution," Nir added.

Cross purposes
In the past, former Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban said the Palestinians "never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity."
According to former U.S. envoy to the Middle East, Martin Indyk, the current leadership in Israel, though, also has been willing to miss the boat.
"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had already articulated a position that Israel will have to keep its defense forces and security services in the West Bank for a long time, which makes an end to the occupation questionable," he said.
Indyk said that position make a two-state solution less likely.
However, he said he sees a glimmer of hope if the U.S. supports the reconciliation deal between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
"The agreement allows the PA to take control of Gaza and there would be one government, one law, and one gun that can be only with the PA, which could convince Israel to fully open Gaza passages in return for disarmament," Indyk told a panel at the Brookings Institution.

Key hurdles

But Khaled Elgendy, a Brookings fellow, said he doubts the U.S. would support the agreement.
"Perhaps the greatest challenge lies in convincing the American and especially Israeli leaders of the need to overcome their resistance to Hamas' involvement in Palestinian politics," said Elgendy.

"Both countries should recognize that the status quo of divided leadership has only made violent conflict more likely and more frequent, at the same time, they will need to get serious about ending the Israeli occupation once and for all," he added.
Elgendy believes the U.S. has lost much of its credibility as a peace broker and needs to adopt mechanisms to prevent future conflicts.
Matthew Duss, president of the Washington-based Foundation for Middle East Peace, is more skeptical about prospects of peace after the Gaza war.
"There is very little that can be done with the current Israeli government that believes in continued occupation of the West Bank, as long as the Obama Administration is not willing to take up the political fight and use its leverage to adopt the terms of reference articulated in Obama's address in May 2011, as 1967 borders with agreed upon swapping of territories," he said.



You May Like

800-Pound Man Determined to Slim Down

Man says he was kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza; wants to be an actor More

Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

Preference will be given to refugees from persecuted minorities, and the first group is expected to arrive before late December More

S. African Miners Seek Class Action Suit Against Gold Mines

The estimated 100,000 say say they contracted the lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in the mines More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: jawed akhtar from: kolkata.. india
August 13, 2014 3:19 PM
Israel's return to pre-1967 position is a must for lasting peace in the region.

by: RParuda from: Brazil
August 10, 2014 11:53 AM
As long the Palestinians'(Hamas) desire to exterminate the Jews and desmanteling of Israel superseeds their their desire for prosperity and protection of their own people, real peace is unatainable.

by: John Prewett from: Thailand
August 08, 2014 6:29 AM
No, it's gonna result in Israel leveling Gaza.

by: Gary Sears from: Thornhill, BC, Canada
August 08, 2014 4:11 AM
Palistinians must accept the the state of Isreal, not required as the will of god, but as the will, at minimum, of man. Isreal must accept the existence of the independant state of Palistine, regardless of the risks, and trust in god. Anything less is, at minimum, a lack of faith.

by: Frank from: Pahrump, NV
August 08, 2014 12:41 AM
Israel doesn't want peace, never has and never will. Forget it. Waste of time. Israel is a joke.

by: GoatGuy from: Berkeley, CA USA
August 07, 2014 6:10 PM
Only ONE thing is clear: the rhetoric of theft (from the Muslim world) and divine promise (from the Jewish world) need to cease. The problem is no deeper really than a question of sovereignty. The harms of the past are so convoluted, so many generations have been born since, that the fact on the ground cannot be more simply stated: Palestinians are not Israelis, and Israelis must separate the Palestinians from being dependents.

Israel maintains wanting exactly three things:

* Recognition as a country
* Admission of right-to-exist
* Lasting and Contractual Peace with its Neighbors.

The Palestinians (to be fair) want:

* All the land once ceded to them by the United Nations
* To get rid of all Jews living in their borders
* Recompense for damage done; reparations.

The not-too-subtle Islamic World wants:

* Israel to be defeated
* Jews to be exiled
* Palestine returned to the Ummah.

Seems to me - once you throw out all the vitriol - that the one thing left is to admit history, and project its consequence in the future. Israel has one EVERY conflict with the surrounding Arab world. Every one. In some it has taken, and in a few cases annexed land from its neighbors. In all, it has won. Decisively.

Further, it is the most militarily and economically independent nation in the region. It is industrially potent, and has been growing more so in the last 5 decades. Israel literally has no peer amongst the surrounding Arab / Muslim nations.

Since therefore, ANY and ALL military challenges to Israeli sovereignty and military defense will be met with yet more resounding defeats of the aggressors, it would do well to give the "little things" that Israel wants. Admission that it is a valid nation. Acceptance of its RIGHT to exist. Doctrine and Treaty that contractually binds the signatories to Peace, both now, and in the future.

This will work, and all sides can then move on. The past is the past, the harms are complex and deep. Let's get on with a separate and sovereign Palestine. It'll work.


by: John from: Texas
August 07, 2014 5:59 PM
"following a four-week war in Gaza that claimed more than 1,900 lives on both sides"....

More than 1,900 lives on "both sides" is not that way to describe it when 98% of the lives lost was all on one side....terrible reporting.

by: Joe Jones from: México
August 07, 2014 5:42 PM
Why doesn't the US simply stop giving Israel the money to do what they're doing? That would end Zionist aggression in its tracks.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs