Peace process

Gaza is no-go for Blair

By Shelly Paz, June 13, 2008

Middle East peace envoy Tony Blair has told the Commons foreign-affairs select committee that he would not visit the Hamas-run Gaza Strip for fear of disrupting peace efforts.

The former prime minister, addressing MPs last Thursday, said: “We need to get a ceasefire in Gaza, progressively to start reopening the crossings, start to get proper humanitarian help through, and then build our way back out of this situation where the people of Gaza can be helped.”

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MP warns of Middle East ‘disaster’

By Simon Rocker, June 13, 2008

Mike Gapes MP, the chairman of the Commons’ foreign-affairs committee, this week said that he was “very pessimistic” about the prospect of a breakthrough towards an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement this year.

“There are two reasons for that,” he told a Jewish Labour Movement event in London on Sunday to celebrate Israel’s 60th anniversary.

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David Sye believes that yoga can lift the Middle East out of conflict

By Candice Krieger, June 13, 2008

Yoga instructor David Sye is hoping that its power can bring peace to the Middle East. Mr Sye, the founder of Yogabeats — his own brand of yoga, driven by music and rhythms — has recently launched a Yogabeats conflict project (www.yogabeats.com).

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No Gaza incursion — for now

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 13, 2008

A further round of bloodshed in Israel and the Gaza Strip and stalled  ceasefire talks has not given the Israeli leadership a renewed appetite for a large-scale military incursion into Gaza.

Amnon Rosenberg, a 51-year-old worker at a paint factory at Kibbutz Nir Oz, was killed in a mortar attack last Thursday morning and five others wounded. Hamas took responsibility for the attack. In retaliation, the Israeli Air Force attacked a Hamas position in Beit Lahiya.

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Peace talks no comfort for jaded Golan Druze

By Paula Slier, May 30, 2008

As Israel and Syria start talks, a community mulls its divided loyalties

In the central square of Majdal Shams, the largest of the four Druze villages in the Golan Heights, towers a large statue of Sultan Basha El-Atrash.

Engraved below the Syrian resistance hero who fought French colonialism are two lines in Arabic by the Tunisian poet Abu El-Qassem El-Shabi: “If one day the people desire freedom and life, then inevitably destiny will comply — and inevitably darkness will melt away, and inevitably the chains will be broken.”

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Israel and Syria start talking

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 23, 2008

Amid cries of political spin from the opposition, the Prime Minister’s Office announced this week that Israel and Syria were conducting “indirect” peace negotiations under the auspices of the Turkish government.

The news was released simultaneously on Wednesday morning in Jerusalem, Damascus and Ankara.

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Hamas poised to agree Gaza ceasefire

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 23, 2008

Israel is poised to agree to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire deal with Hamas, despite the deal not including any assurances regarding the release of captured solder Gilad Shalit and an end to arms smuggling over the Egyptian border.

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Let’s help the Palestinian economy to grow

By Douglas Alexander, May 23, 2008

This week’s Palestine Investment Conference can change the face of the region

The path to peace in the Middle East is as rocky as it is long. Progress has been arduous, sometimes non-existent, and it is not surprising that at times hope has fallen by the wayside.

Today, once again, we are at a fork in the road. One route leads to continued conflict, the other potentially to lasting peace. For everyone in the region, that would be a great prize. After decades of bloodshed and hatred, there is a chance of a brighter future.

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Bereaved Arab father on UK peace mission

By Candice Krieger, May 16, 2008

A Palestinian peace activist, whose daughter was killed last year during a clash between Arab youths and the Israeli police, has urged UK politicians to help end the violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

Bassam Aramin has devoted his time to campaigning for peace after his 10-year-old daughter, Abir, was shot dead as she was walking home from school.

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Bush visit played down by Jerusalem

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 9, 2008

US President George Bush’s visit to Israel next week will be mainly ceremonial and there is little expectation that it will achieve a breakthrough in the peace process, according to diplomatic sources.



President Bush with Ehud Olmert during his visit earlier this year

Mr Bush will arrive in Israel on Wednesday with his wife Laura for a two-day visit — his second this year — devoted mainly to Israel’s 60th-anniversary celebrations.

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