Peace process

Bibi: Palestinians delaying peace talks

By Jennifer Lipman, June 22, 2010

Israel’s Prime Minister has blamed the Palestinians for stalling peace negotiations by refusing to engage in direct talks.

Benjamin Netanyahu called on the Palestinians to begin direct peace discussions “without delay and without preconditions”. He made the comments at a speech for fundraisers.

He added: “The Palestinians, regrettably, have made every effort not to resume the peace talks", while Israel, he insisted, "has made every effort to resume the peace talks”.

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Computer game to teach Middle East Peace

By Robyn Rosen, May 27, 2010

British schoolchildren are set to learn about the Israel-Palestine conflict thanks to a computer game devised in Denmark.

Global Conflicts: Checkpoints lets players take on the role of journalists reporting from the conflict.

The game is being used in more than 500 schools around the world. It has been designed for students aged 13 and above by award-winning company Serious Games Interactive, based in Copenhagen.

It is the second remake of Global Conflicts: Palestine, an educational game launched in 2007 that has been sold in more than 50 countries worldwide.

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Abbas: 'Second intifada was a mistake'

By Jessica Elgot, May 26, 2010

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said that peace in the Middle East could be achieved in just one week if Israelis were willing to negotiate. But in a surprise move, he expressed regret over the second intifada.

Speaking to Egyptian media, Mr Abbas said that both he and former Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat did not want the intifada in October 2000.

He said: “The second intifada was one of our worst mistakes. Arafat didn't want the intifada to erupt, but he couldn't stop it.”

During the past week Mr Abbas has made encouraging sounds about the proximity talks.

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BBC's Bowen: Problems in US-Israel relations 'enjoyable'

By Jessica Elgot, May 14, 2010

The BBC’s Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen has said that a report where he described the tension in US-Israeli relations as “enjoyable” was down to an editing glitch.

In his piece ‘Analysis: Bleak climate for Mid-East talks’ for the BBC News website, Mr Bowen wrote: “It has been an unusual and enjoyable new experience to be able to look on as the Israelis argued with their most important ally.”

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Mitchell arrives in Israel to start peace talks

By Jessica Elgot, May 4, 2010

US Special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell has arrived in Israel ready to start new indirect peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israeli media have reported that the talks are gearing up to start as soon as Wednesday.

But the Palestinian Authority has refused to participate in the talks until it has the backing of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, which will not meet until Sunday.

Talks, mediated by Mr Mitchell, were agreed last month but the PA cancelled after an Israeli announcement that new homes had been approved in Ramat Shlomo, east Jerusalem.

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William Hague: I have Iran in my sights

April 29, 2010

William Hague is in no doubt about the most urgent issue to face him if he finds himself in the Foreign Office next month.

"It's the Iranian nuclear programme," he says. "We have consistently been the party arguing for tough sanctions and a strong European approach over the last few years, and are very frustrated that this hasn't emerged strongly enough."

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Israel and Palestinian peace talks to start "in two weeks"

By Robyn Rosen, April 28, 2010

Danny Ayalon, Israel's deputy foreign minister, has announced that new peace negotiations with Palestinian leaders could start within a fortnight.

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is due to fly to Cairo on Monday to discuss the talks, the first since 2008, with Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak.

He told his Likud party in Tuesday that he had heard that Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president “intends to renew the talks. I will be very glad if this will indeed be carried out next week,” he said.

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US may impose own Middle East peace plan

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 15, 2010

Israeli diplomats are coming round to the idea that the White House could try to impose its own peace plan on the Israelis and Palestinians for the first time in four decades.

In addition to reports by well-sourced correspondents in the American media, there have been a number of signals in recent days that the administration is planning to present its own peace plan. The next visit to the region by US representative George Mitchell has been repeatedly postponed, giving rise to the speculation that President Barack Obama has decided to change tack.

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Jewish charities publish social action manifesto

By Martin Bright, March 25, 2010

A group of prominent Jewish charities committed to social justice and climate change has published a joint manifesto for the forthcoming election.

The Jewish Social Action Forum document urges whichever party wins the election to act on poverty, global conflict and refugee issues as well as the environment.

The manifesto begins with a strong commitment to green issues. "The Jewish religion strongly believes in the notion of stewardship - that the world does not belong to us but that it is our responsibility to protect it for future generations."

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Tony Blair: A two-state solution is best for Israel

By Jessica Elgot, March 23, 2010

Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister and envoy to the Middle East Quartet has described his vision for a safer Israel at the Aipac conference in Washington.

He said: “Israel is a democracy. The politicians are in fear of the people, not the people in fear of the politicians.”

Like US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who spoke at the conference yesterday, Mr Blair called the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit "a disgrace" and said that Iran must not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons.

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