Peace process

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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Last chance for peace in Middle East

January 14, 2011

Time is running out for Israel to make a deal with the Palestinians, according to three of the most influential figures in recent peace negotiations.

Former Jordanian ambassador to Israel Omar Rifa'i, Dr. Ron Pundak, an initiator of the Oslo peace talks, and former Palestinian Authority minister Dr Sufian Abu Zaydeh were in London to launch a Bicom research paper on Britain's role in the peace process.

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On this day: An anti-disengagement protest

By Jennifer Lipman, January 12, 2011

It would be the first major rally in opposition to Israeli Prime Minister’s proposal to unilaterally withdraw from parts of the West Bank and Gaza – but by no means the last.

At the rally, held in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, one settler proclaimed: "It will bring hundreds of casualties to the Israeli side because everyone will understand that terrorism will win in this war.”

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Baroness Ashton: Quartet should meet 'as soon as possible'

By Jennifer Lipman, January 7, 2011

The European Union’s High Representative has urged the Mideast peace Quartet to meet within the next few weeks in order to encourage progress on stalled peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Baroness Ashton said: "I propose the Quartet meet as soon as possible to help find a solution to the current impasse.”

She suggested that a meeting should take place around the Munich Security Conference at the beginning of next month.

The foreign policy chief made the comments following a meeting with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

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US realised settlement freeze was wrong tactic

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 6, 2011

The Israeli government was prepared to extend the settlement freeze by three months but the American administration decided at the last moment to change course, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this week.

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'Israel risks losing the whole world'

By Marcus Dysch, December 29, 2010

A senior Israeli minister has warned that the "whole world", led by the United States, may back a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood if Israel does not commit to peace talks.

Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, the Trade and Industry Minister and a veteran Labour Party politician, said talks with the Palestinians must resume, even if Israel were forced to renew a freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank.

His warning, delivered to cabinet colleagues on Sunday, is the first admission by a senior Israeli official of a potential rift with its key ally.

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Peace talksgo back to the drawing board

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 16, 2010

Following its failure to secure a second settlement freeze, the Obama administration is now pushing for indirect talks over the "core" issues between Israel and the Palestinians.

The senior US negotiator George Mitchell resumed the "shuttle diplomacy" between Jerusalem and Ramallah this week, after four fruitless months spent trying to enable direct talks.

Mr Mitchell and the Prime Minister met for over three hours on Monday in a meeting that, according to Israeli sources, was mainly dedicated to "working out a new procedure for the negotiations with the Palestinians".

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The United Nations route to solving this impasse is fools' gold

By Robin Shepherd, December 16, 2010

It has been a mixed couple of weeks for the Palestinian Authority. With the breakdown of peace talks they have managed to land the blame where most of the world was only too ready to place it anyway: it's Israel's fault because of the settlements, and not theirs for their refusal to negotiate without pre-conditions.

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EU, UN criticise Israel for settlements

By Jennifer Lipman, December 10, 2010

Israel’s refusal to change its position on settlement building has prompted criticism from members of the European Union and the United Nations.

The rebukes came as Israeli envoy Yitzhak Molcho flew to Washington to discuss the progress of the peace process at meetings with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Middle East George Mitchell.

On the same day Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak met Thursday with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

EU High Representative Catherine Ashton said that the EU considered settlements an obstacle to peace.

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