Peace process

Middle East turmoil prompts Hague to get blunt with Bibi

February 10, 2011

William Hague's dramatic intervention in the Middle East peace process this week can not easily be dismissed as spin or journalistic hype.

It is no accident that he spoke so candidly to The Times during his mission to five countries affected by the "New Arab Revolt", nor that he used such strong language.

His determination to talk tough to Israel and the Obama administration about the urgency of restarting the peace process in the light of events in Egypt marks a significant development.

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Hague to Israel 'no time for belligerence'

By Jennifer Lipman, February 9, 2011

William Hague has warned Israel that for the sake of the Middle East peace process “this should not be a time for belligerent language.”

The Foreign Secretary, currently on a three day tour of North Africa and the Middle East, called instead for “bold leadership” from the United States and “equally bold steps by Israelis and Palestinians”.

He made the remarks in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments about being willing to "reinforce the might of the state of Israel" should it prove necessary.

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Killer who may be partner for peace

By Nathan Jeffay, February 3, 2011

Before becoming president, Shimon Peres said he would pardon him, and many Israelis, from the left to the centre-right, have long seen him as a potential peace partner. But the most famous Palestinian prisoner in Israeli detention says that today peace with Israel is "impossible".

The comments by Marwan Barghouti came in an interview with an Algerian newspaper.

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Tony Blair: focus on peace talks not Palestine Papers

By Jennifer Lipman, January 28, 2011

Tony Blair has expressed concern that the Palestine Papers were leaked in order to destabilise the situation in the Middle East.

The former British Prime Minister who is now Middle East envoy for the Quartet, told the BBC’s Today programme that the documents were likely intended to be “extremely damaging” to the Palestinian leadership.

The papers, released by Arabic news channel Al-Jazeera earlier this week, have shed light on concessions allegedly offered by the Palestinians to Israel in 2008. However Mr Blair warned that the importance of the documents should not be overstated.

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Hague urges Syrian support for Middle East deal

By Jennifer Lipman, January 28, 2011

William Hague has called on Syria to “support efforts towards a comprehensive peace with Israel”.

Mr Hague, who is in Syria for his first official visit as Foreign Secretary, also said that the British government’s position is to oppose settlement building and support Syria’s claim on the Golan Heights, which have been under Israeli control for 44 years.

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Al-Jazeera Palestine papers dismissed as 'fabrication'

By Jennifer Lipman, January 24, 2011

The Palestinian Authority has roundly dismissed claims that two years ago it offered Israel significant concessions on control of Jerusalem and other key issues in the Middle East peace process.

According to documents published by Al-Jazeera, which are claimed to be leaked reports on the 2008 peace negotiations, the Palestinians said Israel could keep almost all of east Jerusalem in return for an area beside the West Bank.

The holy sites in Jerusalem would initially have been placed under international control.

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New Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander's Middle East history

By Jennifer Lipman, January 21, 2011

The chair of Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) has said he is looking forward to working with the new Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander, who was appointed following the resignation of Alan Johnson from the front bench.

Labour leader Ed Miliband appointed Douglas Alexander to replace Yvette Cooper yesterday, moving him from his role as Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary.

Mr Alexander, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, was first elected in 1997 in Tony Blair’s landslide victory.

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Deputies two-state solution Middle East row

By Simon Rocker, January 20, 2011

Board of Deputies leaders were left trying to salvage its Israel policy this week after members threw out a resolution that declared support for a two-state solution in the Middle East.

Despite the convincing rejection of the motion, Board president Vivian Wineman insisted that most deputies still remained in favour of the concept of a two-state peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

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The Middle East - a musical musing

By Jennifer Lipman, January 20, 2011
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Singer Ben Sheehan gives the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a lyrical twist

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Abbas's ineffectual UDI threat

By Geoffrey Alderman, January 14, 2011

The current negotiations involving Israel and the Palestinian Authority are, if not actually dead, then certainly in a critical state exhibiting every sign of comprehensive systemic failure.

I say this in spite of the commendable optimism voiced earlier this month by Quartet representative Tony Blair, who told Sky News that direct talks between the two sides could start "within weeks."

Well of course they could. But how meaningful would they be?

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