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What now for Middle East peace?

12:08 UK time, Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Israel's plan to build more homes on occupied land in East Jerusalem is causing friction ahead of planned peace talks. What effect will this have on future relationships?

Israel and the Palestinians had earlier agreed to hold indirect "proximity talks" in a bid to restart the peace process, which has been stalled for 17 months.

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erakat said it was 'very difficult to engage in any negotations' unless the building order was revoked. On Wednesday, US Vice-President Joe Biden condemned Israel's decision, saying it undermined trust.

Are you in the region? What needs to happen for progress to be made? What will calm this diplomatic row?


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  • Comment number 1.

    Yes, I hope and give The U.S. Vice President my confidence in regards to brokering a lasting Middle-East Peace Process between both of the parties ...


  • Comment number 2.

    What needs to happen for progress to be made?

    Simple things:

    a)No new settlements on either side!
    b)No talks on the issue on the Jerusalem as capital.


  • Comment number 3.

    The Isarelis constantly and continually ignore UN Directives to vacate occupied Palestinian land and stop building new settlements on Palestinian land. Until this changes there cannot be any chance of peace.

    Palestinians are treated like prisoners by the Israelis, is it any wonder that they use the very limited means at their disposal to protest?

    In the Iraq enquiry several UK Govt Ministers, incl G Brown, justified the invasion of Iraq due to the fact that Iraq had ignored UN Directives, Israel does the same, and has WMD, but no action is ever taken against them.

  • Comment number 4.

    Its never happend before and i won't now!.
    It won't happen even if they get everything they are after. too much water under the bridge.
    Lets be honest its the same the world over! its only the few that cause the problems. and its always the same they fight over Dirt!!!

  • Comment number 5.

    What is needed is another Mo Mowlam.

  • Comment number 6.

    Is Middle East peace and war really all about Israel and Palestine alone?

    There is, on the BBC and other broadcasters, much about hate between the above in that area alone?

    Historic and ancient racial hatred appears to be the core?

    Can there be a consensus that a lot of well-paid people in power in Israel and in Palestine are incompatible on so many levels, and as long as money keeps pouring in to appease conflict - what is the incentive for peace?

  • Comment number 7.

    Vice-president Biden has considerable clout and should leave no stone unturned in his bid to get both sides to thrash out their problems. The Israelis have been dictating events so far. The climate has to be right before substantive talks can take place. Israel should be told firmly that no new settlements would be tolerated. The Palestinians should also refrain from attacking Israeli positions. The United Nations has not been able to broker peace. The United States as Israel's closest partner will have to take a more neutral stance as blind support of Israel will only make Israel more recalcitrant! UN resolutions have hardly any meaning whatsoever.

  • Comment number 8.

    Joe Biden is wrong.
    The time has passed for a two-state solution. It passed when settlements and roads were built that split and separated any potentially viable Palestinian State. Look at any map of Israel, Gaza and the West Bank; you will easily see the chop-shop that would be Palestine.
    This “real opportunity” of which Biden speaks is a farce - a stop gap, a buying of time for further Israel incursion.
    “Indirect talks” – what does this mean? It certainly doesn't mean anything like official, like binding.
    "Allay that layer of mistrust that has built up" since 1949? There is no "trust" on either side, especially the Palestinian-side and this for cause.
    Just before Biden’s arrival in the Mid-East, Israel approved the building of over 100 new homes in the occupied West Bank. Does this seem like trust-building or allaying mistrust?
    The only thing that can be done now is a ONE STATE SOLUITION with Jerusalem as the capital. There is absolutely no way that Israel would agree to this. So, where is the hope?
    What makes this situation particularly poignant is that at the start of his administration, Obama promised that he would help ensure that there was lasting peace in the Middle East. He demanded that Israel halt their construction/expansion of settlements. He had no power then over Israel’s relentless intrusions into Palestine, and he has no power now.
    The only solution is ONE STATE.

  • Comment number 9.

    You assume in your question that the US wants peace in the Middle East. Wherever did you get that idea from?

  • Comment number 10.

    Biden is kidin if he thinks there will be peace in the ME.

  • Comment number 11.

    No chance of peace because the plain fact is that Israel is still actively expanding it's lawful borders into occupaied Palestinian territory. Obama demanded that Israel cease all settlement activity including so-called natural growth. Netanyahu refused, and Obama and the USA capitulated. Unless the US threaten Israel's annual aid stipend, weapons supply, or diplomatic cover, nothing will change. But Netanyahu was well aware that US will not because AIPAC, NORPAC, the ADL, the WJC and all the other Zionist lobby groups in Washington are too powerful.

  • Comment number 12.

    Who let this man out of the country? Is he bored? During the healthcare summit he was overheard saying, [paraphrase] it's good to be vice president, you don't have to do anything. What, is he bored with bumbling his way around our government, now has to bumble his way through the international scene? The things out of his mouth usually amount to weapons-grade stupidity. Of course, Israel showed what they think of him just hours before he landed.

    Two things:
    - Palestinians, Israel is here to stay.
    - Israel, stop with the expansion, already. Give some back, even.

  • Comment number 13.

    Given the will, nothing is impossible. Many historically complex situations have been sorted out over the years. The most recent example is the case of Northern Ireland. However, it requires a lot of patient to sort out the intricate issues. The US is the only country that can steer negotiations for some acceptable solution. This would help in securing peace not only in the middle east but also in Afghanistan.
    The US initiative would have explicit or implicit support of world's all well meaning people including those in Israel and Palestine. Let us not forget that they have a lot of things in common. A lasting solution will benefit both. Good luck.

  • Comment number 14.

    Dare I 'recommend' post #5 @1.02pm 09 March...

    ... who said .. "what is needed is another Mo Mowlam"

    If Mo Mowlam (RIP) was still alive, could the so-called 'men' who observe death and conflict in this area, yet are heavily protected and well paid, cope with such a woman who would bang their heads together?!

  • Comment number 15.

    Can the US vice-president broker Middle-East peace?
    That's a tough mission.

    Here's an easier one - can he broker talks?
    The Pal. have been refusing for the last year or so to any types of talks until Israel agree to their demands. And silly me I thought that the demands part should come during the negotiation talks.

    Mr. Biden's first is to manage a resumption of the direct peace talks. These talks should not have (any) precondition by any side. If Mr. Biden will achieve this - then his trip is a success.

    As for brokering a full peace deal? Not as long as the Palestinian people is divided into two countries Fatah-Land and Hamastan, the second one of which will never agree to any kind of peace. Heck, they are paid by the Iranians to fight the peace process...

  • Comment number 16.

    America held the file of this conflict for decades and through this long time it achieved the agreement of camp Daivid and then covered the region with much false pledges and un reasonable initiatives similar to this last one,America need to force Israel to withdraw to the border of 1976 and eliminate its settlements from the Palestinians land so as to pave the way to the peace.

  • Comment number 17.

    Money, money and more money pours into this ancient yet post-modern conflict?

    What is actually being achieved is unaccounted $billions subsidising an area with no incentive to have peace, but an industry and employment of conflict?

    Have watched documentaries where Israelis take Palestinian homes under law that these properties were originally Israeli owned? Very complex.

    The same behaviour occurs in Cyprus too?

    How far do you want to go back in history? The French in 1066 took property owned by previous invaders? That's ancient, should we attack current owners of property owned by French or Germanic descent?

  • Comment number 18.

    Mahmoud Abbas took a stand by not engaging in talk as long as settlements were expanding, I believe it is a mistake for him to change that position. The BBC asks: will there be peace? A more apt question is: should there be peace? Or is peace simply surrender? On that, I agree with Israel's founding father and two-time PM who said as follows:

    "Why should the Arabs make peace? If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country. Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs. We come from Israel, it's true, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been antisemitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that?"

    The Jewish Paradox : A personal memoir (1978) by Nahum Goldmann p. 99.

  • Comment number 19.

    Both sides need to take steps. The Israelis need to stop building, and the PA needs to show that it won't allow the WB to be used as a launching pad for terrorist or rocket attacks. Confidence building steps, such as relaxing of travel restrictions, economic development programs, and security measures will show both sides how they can and will live next to each other.

    GAza is a lost cause right now. Hamas is increasingly turning it into a repressive religious state - witness the recent move on hairdressers!. And as long as they are funded by Iran, who will NOT tolerate full peace between Israelis and Palestinians, Gaza will be left behind as peace moves forward.

  • Comment number 20.

    No, because he would bite his tongue.

  • Comment number 21.

    Of course the American's can't broker peace, even though everyone thought Obama was some kind of miracle worker when he came to office. Of course Tony Blair is a middle east peace envoy, so there is still hope for progress.

  • Comment number 22.

    Absolutely not! The US and Israel have created facts on the ground that a viable Palestinian State is not possible. The issue brought up to negate any positive development is Security for the state of Israel, what about security for its neighbours? This bogeyman is laughable if not so tragic. There is absolutely no way that the Palestinians can affect the security of a state with the most powerful military in the ME and with the only Superpower in the world safeguarding its every move. Every country is threatened for not adhering to UN directives except for Israel. Why? Israel will be the US policeman guarding the OIL in the ME. When the OIL runs the Israelis should worry until then they are allowed to do what they will in the region.

  • Comment number 23.

    Only when Israel's appetite for territorial accumulation is satisfied, peace will be achieved. Do you think that will ever happen?

  • Comment number 24.

    How can there be any peace without a change in the underlying racism?

    Today there are reports of midnight arrests and beatings of 12-14 year old Palestinian children in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, or the 17 - average number per week, PA injured by the IOF. (Which will not figure in any discussions). After which training, they are supposed to blindly accept Israel? Would you or your children?

    Apparently Biden & Netanyahu, after some bland phrases of mutual admiration, talked about Iran. So why are we supposed to now think that this is anything but another Photo Op?

    Even worse, the US will "blame" those it says do not fulfill it's expectations. Obviously they have planned to place the blame in four months time on the PA, to let Israel out of any obligation to make peace.

    We have seen THAT before as well.

  • Comment number 25.

    The US is not an honest or fair broker, so in a word: No.

  • Comment number 26.

    Middle East peace process has been there for many decades, what is missing is the Palestenian's participation with guts, honesty and ability to keep it non-violent. As long as Palestenian incomes are being invested into weapons, there cannot be any peaceful situation forseen, any effort by America will jut be photo opportunities in big time news papers. No American President wants to be seen that he/she did not do anything for Palestine/Israel peace, it has become one activity all Presidents have tried to resolve. Peace requires peaceful intentions, peaceful body language, peaceful deeds, ability to sell peace in their ruling neighborhoods. HAMAS cannot get elected by advertising peace, they are still dreaming of destroying Israel and its human life, in speeches and in their daily actions. Palestenians should vote and elect moderate leaders who visualize peace as the only roadway for progress.

  • Comment number 27.

    Nobody can be seriuos talking about peace in the Middle East so what is behind these moves? Obama's hope is to produce some sort of result laudable enough to shift away the Palestinian problem as a central point of argument on all matters concerning the East. Netanyahu's is to go on building settlements behind a big welcoming smile while Biden and Clinton are looking on. Abbas wants to stay in power no matter what. The West tried to impregnate the Palestinians with democracy; that produced a "monster" they believe. Now that there is not enough property left to build a second country on the question is: what status will the almost 5 million Palestinians on site have? The ball is on the Israeli side of the court.

  • Comment number 28.

    Kidding right. How many head of states have tried this before. ? I lost track of the count. It is another charade of politicians and diplomats. It appears that there are lot of people on both sides who does not want to resolve this problem. They are afraid and confused as to what problem they should focus on once this issue is resolved. !!.

    Bottom line: it is all about money and power. No one cares about people. Of course they all pretend to care in the name religion and yet no one has seen god.

  • Comment number 29.

    In a few word no, America is too biased and onesided to broker Middle-East peace, nothing that will last more than a few years there are serious issues that are been overlooked

  • Comment number 30.

    Israelis like to joke that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity however the truth is closer to Israel never misses an opportunity to mess up an opportunity.

    Let's be honest here: Israel is only interested in peace on its terms, which are clearly unfair to the Palestinians. The way it treats Palestinians is disgraceful for a so-called modern state, and America's reputation in the Middle East and indeed the world has suffered enormously because of its unwillingness to get tough on its ally.

  • Comment number 31.

    He can not because America always favours one side, the Jews ( "There no space between the United States and Israel")" Tony Blair was no better.
    However, as both sides want victory and not compormise so no one will settle this

  • Comment number 32.

    Please check out the Gush Shalom website at:

  • Comment number 33.

    The real problem between Israel and Palestine is religious fanatiscism on both sides, if both sides were athiests the issue would have been resolved long ago.

    In the meantime the UN should force Israel to stop building settlements on Palestinian land and open its border with Gaza, and in return send armed UN peacekeepers to that border to make sure jihadist millitants do not abuse it to smuggle rockets, ammunition, Guns, and suicide bombers into Israel.

    I do not agree with the commentator who suggested America does not want a solution to the conflict, after all Islamic terrorists give the Israeli/Palestinian conflict as the main reason for their actions in the west.

  • Comment number 34.

    Innocent naivity.
    Wish, he was right.

  • Comment number 35.

    Israel does not want peace. The US does not have the clout to broker a peace deal because she does not want peace for the simple reason: War is good business.

  • Comment number 36.

    My opinions around this question are mostly in support of what the contributors have already written. That so-called, "hell would freeze first"; point of view, before peace will be achieved. To me it is, testament to the fact of, peace being in the heart first. You will never legislate it.

    I would also add, if the manufacturers of weaponry were the tobacco industry. We would be suing the pants off of them to recoup the healthcare costs.

  • Comment number 37.

    U.S. government policy regarding Israel and Palestine is still set by the pro-Israel lobby in the U.S. and Israel has no incentive to negotiate in good faith on substantive issues as long as it has the backing of the U.S. For all the talk about the growing Muslim population in the U.S. they seem to have little political influence, it may take them another generation to learn the lessons of politics in this country and organize as other immigrant groups have done before them. When that happens U.S. policy in the Middle East may indeed change and hopefully become more even handed.

    For now, Biden's trip is nothing but a photo op.

  • Comment number 38.

    There will be peace in the world when the Israelis stop proclaiming that they are the Chosen people, the Muslims that Allah will solve everything & the Germans referring to themselves as the Master race!

  • Comment number 39.

    What, and stop he war-gravy-train rolling? Very likely.

  • Comment number 40.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 41.

    The Palestine-Israel issue does not need any more talks. It needs action from US to stop Israel from further atrocities in Palestine.

  • Comment number 42.

    Apparently, if you drop a frog into boiling water it will scream, but if you put it in water and slowly raise the temperature, it won't notice until it is too late.

    The same seems to apply. If you go for all out ethnic cleansing like Milosovic, the world will scream. But do it slowly enough, settlement by settlement and the world will not notice.

  • Comment number 43.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 44.

    So when are we going to see the American backed UN resolution condemning israel illegal settlement building on occupied territory.. You want the world to take your seriously obama I suggest you take this opportunity to show everyone you are unbiased and not controlled by the Jewish lobby groups in the US.. Not likely to happen in my life though I'm guessing..

  • Comment number 45.

    Palestine started the war way back when the Brits sold the land to the Jews. It matters nothing to Palestine what sort of concessions Israel makes, Palestine won't agree. Israel has won the war each time and with that, comes the right to land. Just as the UK has done in the past. Stop whinging about Israel and get on with your lives... Palestine and all islamic ocuntries will hate Israel because they won't become dhimis. End of story... It is that simple.

  • Comment number 46.

    I am not sure yet.

  • Comment number 47.

    Israel has no intention of reaching any agreement and is clearly trying to provoke a negative reaction from the Palestinians by announcing yet more settlement building to coincide with this visit. Blydon doesnt have any chance of making progress unless he gets Israel to comply with demands for a halt to settlement building.

  • Comment number 48.

    If the Palestinians laid down their arms there would be peace. If the Israelis laid down there arms there would be carnage.

  • Comment number 49.

    ""But hours before Mr Biden's arrival, tensions rose between the two sides as Israel approved the building of over one hundred new homes in the occupied West Bank""

    Haven't you got the answer yet.

    What Israel is basically saing is that it cares two hoots about international sentiment & will carry on with its merry ways irrespective.

  • Comment number 50.

    Ilost count,but how many times did they see something like Opprtunity
    now? And the US as Broker for peace,in the middle East? also how may times and probly as useally more to Israels favor. And while they where talking inside about peace,evan said they made progress outside the bombing kept going on. I did which,this time they would be more succesfull,to stabilize the Region,but from expirieancs,better not
    put the hopes too high.

  • Comment number 51.

    Well, if a US President cannot close an ilegal prison Guantanamo famous for violations of human rights and torture of the inmates, as Obama promised to his people in elections campaigns, how dare we expect that he could solve one of the most complex political issue of the modern time?

  • Comment number 52.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 53.

    As long as the Arab World's main priority is to get rid of the Jewish state, the chances of any long lasting peace agreement is close to zero.

  • Comment number 54.

    Nothing happens in US politics without the concent of Israel.
    That is what going on now, no less and no more...

  • Comment number 55.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 56.

    Look, I'm very sorry, but it has always puzzled me how an ancient race and religion has been allowed to take land from innocent inhabitants based on their religious claims.

    For one this race introduced via their own texts, the principle of 'The One God'. Then they defined 'Him' in print. Then via their lore they said 'He' spoke to one of them and decreed a land all for themselves and that they 'would be a great nation'. Many many years later along comes Moses and leads them to Sinai supposedly under their own 'God's' direction. He goes up the mount and comes down with not only 10 commandments but many other rules and regulations. In their lore it says that their 'God' was interested in leading them out of Sinai where they'd clearly lived for over 40 years quite successfully. They had plenty of resources and precious metals. They stated they had a 'jealous God'. Yet in all truth the 10 commandments would have prevented them from moving out of Sinai in anything other than peace and to settle amongst other inhabitants without claim to their settled land. Also there has been some question that the 10 commandments had some origin in the Egyptian lore at the time.

    I believe in Ethereal Intelligence. The combustion of Elemental Consciousness that is present in Elemental Creation and maintenance of the Universe, its Body. Isn't it time we humbly accepted that perhaps this lore and text which the west and many others have been forced through millennia to consciously or subconsciously absorb be put to one side? It has really produced no good results really. It has created a perception that 'God' 'Chooses' people and it's spread throughout other religions. Why should a set of people be 'Chosen' when its been introduced and written in their own lore and by a 'God' defined by themselves? It just doesn't make sense.

    Wouldn't it be better for the world if we all stopped individual ownership of 'God', 'Allah' and mythological dangerous perceptions as to Its nature and preferences?

    Certainly a lot of people now live in ghetto-like misery. Their homes have been taken from them and they have no rights. Many of them live away from Palestine in refugee camps and often die there. Does this sound familiar? Have we seen this before? Therefore this is wisdom to be gained in part from biblical text - the sins of the fathers.

    I don't have a jealous 'God'. I have a multi-dimensional Ethereal Intelligence. It definitely thinks and knows and sees the future. But it's a lot less judgmental about people - us tiddlers on earth, a very pretty little planet that we don't pay enough attention to - and It does have a sense of humour. It may think religion is about the middle men and not necessarily about worship of Creative Artistry itself. After all the record now stands - how great have men been at running the world? How great in truth have been many of its destructive principles and inventions? The minute you get a middle Man speaking out on behalf of God you get a projection from Men associating themselves with something they in truth have no real idea about all.

    So please, let's cut the Palestinians loose from the 'curse' of Zionism. It is only for the Zionists and the world has been held emotional hostage to it for too long.

  • Comment number 57.

    So long as the Israeli government refuses to respect a fundamental equality between Palestine and Israel (the lack of which is made obvious daily by Israel's treatment of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian territory. Who would want a state like the one that Israel is willing to allow for the Palestinians?), so long as this Israeli attitude persists, I cannot see how Israel can expect to ever find true peace with its Arab neighbors, both within Palestine and without.

    Scott Perry, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

  • Comment number 58.

    Sadly, peace in the M.E. is based on the eradication of religious racism. Each side thinks their god told them to live there, and to murder anyone who tries to stop them. It's a pathetic ridiculous conflict. It will never end.

    Not with Carter.
    Not with Clinton.
    Not with a thousand years of troops.
    Not with billions of dollars.

    I just wish the US would stop PAYING BOTH SIDES TO CONTINUE.

  • Comment number 59.

    Nothing has changed on the ground. The Israelis are still in defiance of UN resolutions regarding occupied terrority. The so-called non-existant International Community does nothing. No sanctions, no invasions, no British troops in the West Bank. Nada. A farce as the whole world knows. The US is powerless against homegrown pro-Israel lobbies in Congress. All of Israel is on occupied land not just some of it. The BBC distorts history all the time in suggesting one land two peoples etc. Total nonsense. If there is one solution it is that of one state. One democracy with Jews living alongside Arabs. Alternatively, all the Israelis should go live in Nevada !

  • Comment number 60.

    This visit by VP Biden is an utter hoax, meaningless in its entirety the US govenrment is in the iron-fisted grip of AIPAC. Israel is not a US ally but a malicious parasite drawing US treasure and blood to further the agenda of Zionism. Read the book "They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions confront Israel's Lobby" by Paul Findley that delineates clearly how American Jews manipulate US foriegn policy and stifle any anti-Israel dissent in the American media and elsewhere. Israel just announced more settlement expansion a direct slap in the face to Obama and stupid Joe Biden thanked them for it so shmaelessly enslaved to Israel have American politicians become. It's disgusting!

  • Comment number 61.

    No, the US cannot broker Middle East peace beause neither the Palestinians or the Arab world in general are interested in peace. All they are interested in is the destruction of Israel and removing it from the face of the earth. Peace? That's the last thing Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world want now or have ever wanted. There could have been peace in the Middle East decades ago if Arabs were willing to recognize and accept Israel's right to exist, guarantee it's security and stop trying to maim and kill Israelis on a virtual daily basis. Peace will not come until those things happen, regardless of efforts by the US or anyone else.

  • Comment number 62.

    It would be nice but I REALLY doubt it.

  • Comment number 63.

    Why do people have hope in the US who have illegally invaded two countries themselves!

  • Comment number 64.

    Why even bother asking if this would work,when everyone here and the world over knows the U.S.and Israel are bedfellows.Unless the entire Western developed nations and the entire muslim nations come together and make a stand on behalf of Palestine and also impose sanctions on Israel this peace brokering will never work.Israelis are now preventing Muslims to enter the Mosque Israelis claim is on Israeli soil.It's entirely upto the bring peace in Palestine but the simply not interested.Whether we look at this crisis from a religious viewpoint or political,the Muslims are doomed in that region and maybe around the world.The invasion of Iraq and murdering 100s of thousands is only the beginning of the fall of Muslims around the world.In the next few years the U.S.along with Australia will probably begin similar kinds of campaigns in Indonesia and Malaysia as the U.S.and U.K.did in Iraq and Afghanistan.The U.S.and the entire western world has animosity toward Muslims.I wouldn't be surprised if the U.S.and U.K.invade the entire gulf states in our lifetime,maybe even sooner,military bases are already there to protect the oil.Wake up people,there is no such thing as ME peace initiative.

  • Comment number 65.

    America has backed Israel for as long as I can remember; it has always been reluctant to take a strong stand towards it or to impose strong sanctions. So how is it going to be able to mediate between the two countries now? even after Obama's speech in Cairo, Israel continued his expansion into Palestinian territory. America's intention to mediate becomes a joke when you take all this into consideration; they have enough problems at home and should concentrate on that; instead let someone who is really neutral and capable mediate. And let an international organisation impose sanctions on both sides for not sticking to their agreements. I think the world is very fed up with this situation by now. It should end.

  • Comment number 66.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 67.

    I'd like to think that someone - most likely the US - would be able to broker some kind of badly needed deal to bring some stability and sense to this region.

    But honestly, I don't think they can do it. I don't think there's a will by the Israelis to find a solution, exemplified by the continuance of settlement expansion in the occupied territories. (And the latest announcement on these settlements, hours before Biden arrives, is no coincidence).

    It's a crying shame really.

  • Comment number 68.

    Post a comment advocating terrorism against Israeli civilians all over Israel, and your comment will be posted.

    Point out the racist policy of a 'pure' 'palestine' with Jews required to be ethnically cleansed in order to create a country - and it's off to the moderators.

    What a sick and twisted left wing extremist organisation the BBC has become.

  • Comment number 69.

    Europe created this problem, so where are the Europeans?? oh yea, squabbling about money... are germany and france gonna help greece?? is iceland gonna payback Uk and holland??

    Why is the USA stuck fixing Europe's mess ONCE again, just like vietnam, just like korea, just like afghanistan.....

    Where is Europe??? Quibbling about money, as usual. ..yet they wonder why no one takes the EU seriously..

  • Comment number 70.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 71.

    Surely this question is a no-brainer. On the one hand you have the most economically and militarily powerful country in the world giving its brazen support and blessings to a country that defies all UN resolutions against it and carries on regardless with its oppressive xenophobic land-grabbing policies, whilst on the other hand you have a politically, economically and socially bankrupt people who have had their homeland, possessions, freedom and rights disenfranchised by their "naturalised" occupiers, scornfully recognised as the Israeli geo-political status quo and apparently here to stay. What a mess, what an unconscionable blot in the annals of spectacular mistakes over which those responsible are somehow not accountable. So tell me - what honest brokering can be expected from the USurpers of truth? It's a joke before it is even told.

  • Comment number 72.

    I cannot see there ever being a negotiated peace. Every time there is the slightest move in that direction the Israeli government pulls some underhanded trick that negates everything. For instance building more and more settlement houses anywhere they feel like it.

  • Comment number 73.

    "Can the US vice-president broker Middle East peace?"
    Considering Israel's absolute fiscal, military and political dependence on the US, it's not a matter of "can the US broker peace" but "will the US broker peace".
    The answer is no, as it has been for the last 43 years of Israeli occupation of the Palestinians. As it's continual expansion shows, Israel wants its cake, and eat it too and the Americans willingly and deliberately serve it to them. All of the sweet taste of occupation with none of the fat of responsibility or accountability.
    Of course, the blame is not only the US and Israel's alone. The Palestinians are busy hating and fighting amongst themselves, and foolishly failing to accept the reality that Israel is the only home for Israelis born after 1947 and that they are here to stay, rather than taking a united stand to negotiate an equitable peace with a common adversary. And the dictators of neighbouring Arab countries are more than happy to disgracefully play the anti-Semitism card and as a consequence of that, play fire with extremism, just so that they can deflect criticism of their regimes and rule at home.
    The whole region is an utter eyesore for the rest of us who live outside it.

  • Comment number 74.

    Although I feel that the Palestinians are often their own worse enemy,nothing is done to control the Israeli's in their conquest of territory by building new settlements where they know very well is illegal,every time the talk of peace comes around.
    The American delegates are are no more than show men who know only too well that they have no influence on Israel what so ever,of course the Palestinians also know this,

  • Comment number 75.

    I doubt very much if these talks will achieve anything. Israel wants the US stamp of approval as it builds more "settlements", an excuse for stealing land. A real motivator for government of Israel would be money; as in "No more handouts". US taxes could be better spent than to be given to country who promotes aggression. If the US was to say to them "Unless you make a real, honest, and verifiable effort in the two state solution, the money river stops". You will then be speaking the language they understand. We could make better use of the billions in tax payer dollars in our own country.

  • Comment number 76.

    Not being negative, but my answer is negative.

  • Comment number 77.

    Israel says the building in Beitar Illit is "an exception"! I guess that should do it.

  • Comment number 78.

    I rather suspect that the only way to stop conflict in the area is an invasion from Mars. Until then the interrelated tribes will fight over the family silver, in the belief that Grandfather willed it all to them.

  • Comment number 79.

    Can Israel be considered a democracy, in the same way we consider the US, France or India democracies? Israel does not qualify as a democracy by standards a universal jury recognizes.This is not only on account of history, where patterns of ethnic cleansing and of legal discrimination are hardly in dispute 4 million “occupied Palestinians” in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem suffer from open legal exclusion in a system of Israeli decisions that have governed their lives for over a generation. West Bankers, Gazans and Jeru salemites are respectively the victims of land settlement and expropriation, siege and daily physical harassment of their right to live and move freely; and 4-6 million Palestinians are denied their universal right to return to the place from which they fled or were evicted in successive waves in 1948, 1949 and 1967. Simply put, the Israeli government has been and will always be run by terrorists dressed in suits and ties under a false democracy.

  • Comment number 80.

    Stupid question, since Israël openly defies the Palestinians, the US and the world by its actions in the occupied territories. How long do we accept Israël to be above the law ? Unless we answer this question, there won't be any peace.

  • Comment number 81.

    Having in recent days been given multiple demonstrations of the extent to which Israel has contempt, not just for Palestinians, but for the international community as a whole (with the sole exception of the U.S., without whose support it would collapse), the answer is almost certainly no. The U.S. has the wherewithal to bring about peace in the Middle East but not the will. Dramatic progress would follow America's making it clear it had lost patience with the status quo (as it belatedly did to the IRA), but the pro-Israel lobby is too strong a voting force in domestic American politics, and the pro-Palestinaian lobby too insignificant, for that to happen. So, instead, one U.S. administration after another mumbles occasional discontent at the latest Israeli outrage, and five minutes later reaffirms its unswerving support.
    If only the Mossad faked some AMERICAN passports...then we would see peace talks worthy of the name.

  • Comment number 82.

    With all due respects to Mr Biden, many have tried and failed. There are only two possible outcomes of this enduring conflict:
    1) A nuclear war that will take down the rest the world with it.
    2) The status quo is maintained for another twenty years when oil reserves dry out. Without the deep pockets of the Saudi state, Palestine will lose out.
    Either way, nothing good will rise from it.

  • Comment number 83.

    First the Passports for Murder scandal, now this public humiliation of American official. Israel seems to think it can urinate all over it allies and get away with it. It seems that they're right.

  • Comment number 84.

    The US, or anyone for that matter, has never been able to broker "peace" in the Middle East. So why would anyone think that sending a Dan Quayl-esque vice president clown like Biden to the Middle East would have any effect?

    Also why send the vice president instead of somebody with actual clout? The vice presidency is one of the most neutered offices in the entire US political system. It's no wonder that Israel decided to go ahead with more east Jerusalem building as he visited: a signal that Biden's visit is a waste of everybody's time.

  • Comment number 85.

    It is really pity that we all living in the Middle East believe that USA is the cause of our entire ailments. This is absolutely a wrong perception. Giving an opinion on a Subject cannot make one either a friend or foe, which is doing by America everywhere. This is their duty to do so. If they neglect it the Globe shall fall apart. Out of this misconception, Palestine became the most sufferers although they are our brothers and sisters. Once Hamas lay down their arms, the flood gate of Aid instantly shall take place to construct the entire Palestine afresh instead of Israel extending or establishing a fresh colony in the East. Let it be known to all of us that there are no two Gods. The God is just one. The Devil is also draw Power from the same one God. Accordingly the entire human beings living in the Planet Earth are brothers and sisters only. With one unavailable, the Globe shall suddenly become incomplete. Let us work hard for it to stay together more specially by the entire General Public of Palestine to force the ignorant ones living within us to throwaway their arms from their hands and give friendship a chance to live ourselves together with hatred towards none to see an overall growth of entire of us.


  • Comment number 86.

    USA and Israel are the two only nations that seem to think that an agreement is possible without Israel retreating to the 1967 borders. But a Palestinian government that accepted the continued occupation of any part of the West Bank would last less than 15 minutes. A deal where Israel kept for instance Ariel and the land encircling Jerusalem is simply unthinkable.

    A just, lasting and secure peace is absolutely possible. But USA must quell any Israeli hope of keeping an inch of the occupied land, in both the Arab countries and the rest of the world widely regarded as stolen.

    The house building could be viewed in a more positive light, though, as Palestinians will probably happily use the houses when Israel leaves.

  • Comment number 87.

    On Sunday I was watching the interview BBC had with the defense minister of Israel and an ex PM and he insisted that the Iranians must implement the U N’s resolutions regarding their nuclear sites and I’m here reading about the way the Israelis are talking peace with the Palestinians WITHOUT caring about the U N’s resolution about settlements in occupying Palestine...I m sorry peace cannot come when the talking is done from both sides of the mouth. it takes leaders with guts not words

  • Comment number 88.

    USA is the only country which can press Israel for abiding the United Nations resolutions. I hope that USA will also be able to win support from all groups for a permanent peace.

  • Comment number 89.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 90.

    Naveed, posts like your is why there needs to be an Israel, you basically say the mere presence of Jews there means they deserve to be attacked. Fortunately the arabs will fail in destroying Israel, but they will try.

  • Comment number 91.

    Funny british and american liberals telling Israel not to build on handful of square miles, whereas the British occupy nothern ireland, and American stole millions of square miles of land from the indians. yet you whine and whine about the jews taking areas the size of neighborhoods in cities. What's it like being such hypocrites?

  • Comment number 92.

    are you kidding !!! I mean Really? The U.S is having a hard time dealing with its internal issues Health care, economy, war, you name it. they are not capable of brokering nothing. talk is cheap and thats what they are good at. this Isreal Paliastine Dilema has been going on for decades, what makes BBC think for one second that the U.S or for that matter any other country can broker any deal. people must understand this Palastinians are not not going to agree to any deal besides the returning the pre 1967 boarders, and weather one believes it or not this is religious war period my God versus your God type of thing its all or nothing. its only a matter of time before this whole thing goes spiralling out of control

  • Comment number 93.

    No. Joe Biden is a buffoon. He makes Dan Quayle and GW Bush look like geniuses.

    More importantly, however, both sides must be willing to make compromises and accept a deal that will be unpopular and incomplete. Until the desire for peace outstrips the desire to "win", there will be no peace deal.

  • Comment number 94.

    The withdrawal from Gaza proved irrevocably that the "settlements" are not an obstacle to peace because they can and will be evacuated. The good news is the Palestinian Prime Minister who is building a country. The bas news is that there is very little contact between Israelis and Palestinians, we are all jaundiced by the peace talks, we need our leaders to really recognize each other's right to a country and to reach a compromise. The bad news is the PA is week, and still more busy attacking Israel than in building a case for their own country - they do not need to make physical concessions - we do - but we do need to here them saying and meaning that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the national home and the expression of self determination of the Jewish people, just as we recognize that Palestine will be the expression of their self-determination. And after 20 years of negotiations we are still waiting to here that. If we did the left would win the next elections and they would have a state

  • Comment number 95.

    Not a snowballs' chance in hell! Oh the euphoria that greeted the messiah Obama, the hope, the cairo speech....the reality..hit and oh dear, Mr Netanyahu is not as nice as I thought he was on TV! Let's send Joe to sort it out...I think he understands them over there cos isn't he a zionist or something? Maybe he can stop the illegal occupation of palestinian land, the extra-judicial assassinations, the murder of civilians, the blockade of innocent society, the lies, deceit and hopelessness that pours from this small, misunderstood 'democracy'!...maybe not.

  • Comment number 96.

    There will be no peace as long as the Arab world continues to refer to Jerusalem and the West Bank as "occupied territories". These parcels of land are no more "occupied" than are Florida, Texas & California. I don't hear Mexicans stating that the U.S. should give back those lands, despite the fact that they were "conquered" by the Americans.

    Syria, Egypt and their cronies have attacked Israel 3 times and have lost 3 times. When you lose a war, you run the risk of losing more than just the battles. If the Arabs had accepted Israel's existence in 1948, they would probably still control East Jerusalem and other (now) Israeli land. But they didn't.

    To use an old cliche - "you can't have it both ways"

  • Comment number 97.

    This conference is a cover for doing nothing. By doing nothing the Palestinians languish and die in Gaza from lack of food and medical needs, the settlers continue to chip away at the rock that is the West Bank, checkpoints continue to oppress and harass the population, laws are used against the people to deprive them of rights, and Palestinians are hunted down and killed for their resistance to this oppression. Time itself has become a threat to Palestinian survival and time is the ultimate weapon that Israel wields. The US knows this and is complicit.

  • Comment number 98.

    U.S should stop handing money to Isreal for a change maybe that will help both sides come to a common ground. come to think of it Isreal is not an Official U.S ally there is no treaty signed between the two countries. suprised!!! look it up... if there was a treaty the U.S would be forced not to recognise Isreal as a state due to its elligal occupation of palastinian land which in turn is a violation Under international Law, Ireal is a friend with benefits sorta speak, if not why are they so reluctant to have a treaty with the U.S

  • Comment number 99.

    The U.S First started terrorism when they insisted the Jews should have a homeland in 1946 and seeing as that the first two Leaders of the so called jewish state were wanted by the British for acts of terrorism ,the rest of the world should have known what was going to happen .
    and they should have disbanded Israel right then then maybe the Americans could live in peace with the rest of the world instead of beating up on anyone who dares dissagree with them

  • Comment number 100.

    TorquemadaTheJustNY wrote:
    "Only when Israel's appetite for territorial accumulation is satisfied, peace will be achieved. Do you think that will ever happen?"

    I am not sure if all participants in this forum know who was Torquemada.

    He was the head of the Spanish Inquisition in the 15th century who ordered several thousand Jews to be burned alive.


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