Peace process

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.

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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.

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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,"

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Israel, Palestinians agree to peace talks

By Jessica Elgot, March 8, 2010

Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to indirect peace talks, brokered by US special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell.

Mr Mitchell, who is currently in Israel, met Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over the last two days to raise the issue of restarting negotiations. He then met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas this afternoon.

Israel and the Palestinians are expected to conduct four months of negotiations through a US mediator, which will focus on security issues and borders of a potential future Palestinian state.

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MPs urge Israel to work with Palestinian Authority

By Leon Symons, February 18, 2010

Israel's best chance for peace is to work with the current leaders of the Palestinian Authority, according to the leader of a group of MPs which has just visited the region.

Mike Gapes, chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee, led nine of its 14 MPs from all parties on the four-day trip.

He said on their return: "I believe Israel should recognise that Salam Fayyad and Abu Mazen are the best hope they've got for peace. They are committed to a two-state solution and Israel should respond positively."

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Media monitor says FT blames Israel

By Simon Rocker, February 4, 2010

The Financial Times believes Israel is largely responsible for the failure to achieve peace with the Palestinians, according to the media analysis group Just Journalism.

The paper regards Israel’s settlement building as the main obstacle.

At the same time, it downplays other factors such as Palestinian terrorism, disunity between Fatah and Hamas and Palestinian failure to recognise Israel as a Jewish status, Just Journalism says, in a report based on examination of 121 editorials about the Middle East in the FT in 2009.

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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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