Peace process

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.

More..

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."

More..

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.

More..

American Jews turn against Obama as Israel rift deepens

By Nathan Guttman, March 18, 2010

As the row over new building plans in east Jerusalem evolved from a diplomatic embarrassment to a major crisis between Jerusalem and Washington, the American Jewish approach to the conflict shifted as well.

More..

Analysis: Netnayahu faces US crisis

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 18, 2010

Binyamin Netanyahu is not a natural gambler. He hates making decisions and will use every opportunity to defer and procrastinate. But this week he was handed a clear ultimatum by the White House: make the choice - us or your coalition.

His response: to continue playing for time.

More..

Obama reaffirms Israel 'special bond'

By Jessica Elgot, March 18, 2010

US President Barack Obama has spoken of the “special bond” the US has with Israel, keen to smooth over the mounting diplomatic crisis between the countries.

Tensions have been high since the Israeli Interior Ministry announced the building of 1,600 new homes in Ramat Shlomo, east Jerusalem, just 24 hours after US Vice President Joe Biden visited the country in an attempt to start peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

More..

Jerusalem riots ease as Clinton calls for peace

By Jessica Elgot, March 17, 2010

Jerusalem appeared to have returned to a semblance of calm last night as police reopened the Temple Mount and road closures from the West Bank were lifted, despite yesterday’s violent clashes.

The riots were in protest against the Israeli government’s approval given to 1,600 new homes in East Jerusalem, a move which cause a deep rift between Israel and the US, with US special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, cancelling a visit to Israel.

More..

Peace talks cancelled over East Jerusalem homes

By Jessica Elgot, March 11, 2010

The Palestinians have called off peace talks with the Israeli government after a decision to approve 1,600 new homes to be built in East Jerusalem, despite an apology from Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Israel’s approval of the houses, which came 24 hours after indirect talks between Israeli and the Palestinians were announced, brokered by US special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell.

The homes are to be built for a strictly-Orthodox community in Ramat Shlomo near the Palestinian village of Shuafat.

More..

Peace talks derailed by building plan

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 11, 2010

A row over Israeli building in east Jerusalem has caused major embarrassment during the American Vice President's visit to the region.

More..

Biden hails new Israel, Palestinian peace talks

By Jessica Elgot, March 9, 2010

US Vice-President Joe Biden has hailed the new, indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinians as a “moment of real opportunity”.

Mr Biden, who met Israel’s President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem today, praised the proposed four months of talks, which have been brokered by US Middle East special envoy George Mitchell.

Mr Biden said: “I hope it is a vehicle, a vehicle by which we can begin to allay that layer of mistrust that has built up in the last several years,"

More..