Peace process

Israel will lose out if US gives up on Middle East

By Uri Dromi, January 28, 2010

There was some sense of relief and even hidden smiles in Jerusalem following President Obama’s confession that his hope to achieve Middle East peace was exaggerated.

This reminded me of a saying attributed to former PM Yitzhak Shamir: “A day in which nothing happened is a good day”. He meant that Israel should neither initiate nor give anything, because, according to another one of his legendary sayings, “The Arabs are the same Arabs and the sea is the same sea”.

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Peace talks on hold as Obama admits failure

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 28, 2010

Senior Israeli officials have acknowledged that the chances of a resumption of high-level talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the near future are very slim.

US envoy George Mitchell, who made yet another trip to the region this week, also played down expectations.

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How the Talmud can be a road map to peace

By Daniel Reisel, November 19, 2009

‘Two are holding a garment,” begins the Talmud in tractate Baba Metzia. Each claims they found it. “One says, kulo sheli — all of it belongs to me. The other says, kulo sheli — all of it belongs to me.”

The first chapter of Baba Metzia presents a well-known scenario. Two people claim an object. The nature of the dispute is such that the original ownership cannot be established. Both claims are emotional, exclusive and absolute.

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Abbas resignation 'could kill peace plan'

By Ben Lynfield, November 12, 2009

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (right) has been deluged with requests from foreign heads of state to reconsider his decision not to seek another term in his office, while his own people seem indifferent.

Mr Abbas said last week that he “does not wish” to run in the January 24 elections, blaming Israel’s expansion of settlements, the US “favouring” the Israeli position and Hamas foiling national reconciliation efforts.

It was not immediately clear if the step was anything more than a ploy to muster American pressure on Israel.

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Danny Ayalon booed during LSE talk

By Marcus Dysch, November 5, 2009

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon gave a lecture at LSE during a trip to Britain last week.

Speaking on the topic “The situation in the Middle East: The view from Israel”, he told around 300 students that both Israel and the Palestinians hope to achieve reconciliation.

Security for Israel, he said, would be recognised with sovereignty and economic prosperity for Palestinians.

The event was interrupted several times by students who shouted at Mr Ayalon. After the lecture he took part in a question and answer session.

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Analysis: The president blames everyone but himself

By Shmuel Rosner, September 24, 2009

So now we know that both the Israelis and Palestinians are to blame.

“It’s time to show the flexibility, common sense and compromise which is necessary to achieve our goals,” President Obama preached to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas this week.

His great achievement of the evening: the handshake. More than a decade-and-a-half after Yitzhak Rabin, reluctantly, shook the hands of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at the White House, Mr Netanyahu and Mr Abbas were also shaking hands for the first time.

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Analysis: Obama could not make peace alone

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 24, 2009

Binyamin Netanyahu has accomplished a remarkable feat. He travelled to the US, met the president at a highly publicised summit, upset the leader of the free world, returned home empty-handed — and is still not facing a public outcry.

A similar dispute with the Americans ultimately brought down the Shamir government in 1992. Later premiers never dared openly confront the US.

Barack Obama’s displeasure was barely disguised and no amount of spin can gloss over the failure of the three-way summit. But Mr Netanyahu, at least for now, is getting away with it.

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Peacenik's fear over Israel

By Simon Rocker, September 3, 2009

One of Israel’s leading peace activists has denied that he and others in the peace movement, who have criticised Israel openly, had contributed to the atmosphere in which it was being demonised as an apartheid state.

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Minister says UK has crucial MidEast role

By Marcus Dysch, August 27, 2009

Ivan Lewis, the Middle East minister, believes Israel and the Palestinians are facing their “best last chance for peace in a generation”.

Speaking after returning from a tour of the region which took in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Syria and Lebanon, Mr Lewis outlined a ten-point plan which he believes will help Britain play an important role in the peace process.

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Analysis: Settlements will be the key

By Daoud Kuttab, August 27, 2009

Palestinians understand clearly that any political resolution of their conflict with Israel will require compromises, possibly very difficult ones. But one area in which Palestinians do not see room for compromise is the issue of Jewish settlement activities in areas Palestinians hope will be their independent state.

If the Netanyahu-Mitchell framework for talks muddles this issue — for example by leaving the settlements to the final stage of the peace talks — it will be hard to see how there can be a functional peace process.

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