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Obama says Mideast peace moment 'must be seized'

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by MziziMkavu, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. MziziMkavu

    MziziMkavu JF-Expert Member

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    [​IMG] Play Video AP – Obama: Palestinians, Israelis relaunch talks




    [​IMG] AP – From left, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Jordan's King …


    By ROBERT BURNS, AP National Security Writer Robert Burns, Ap National Security Writer – 2 mins ago
    WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama convened the first direct Israeli-Palestinian talks in two years Wednesday, challenging Mideast leaders to seize a fleeting opportunity to settle their differences and deliver peace to a region haunted by decades of hostility.
    "Do we have the wisdom and the courage to walk the path of peace?" Obama asked, with the leaders of Jordan, Egypt, Israel and the Palestinians beside him in the crowded East Room of the White House. Earlier Obama had met with each individually, and they were gathering afterward for dinner.
    In turn, each of the leaders spoke of his hopes for a breakthrough, with the U.S. playing the role of peace broker.
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israelis seek a lasting peace, not an interlude between wars. He called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas "my partner in peace," and said he came to Washington in search of an enduring agreement. "I came here today to make peace. Everybody loses if there is no peace."
    Said Jordan's King Abdullah II: "Mr. President, we need your support as a mediator, honest broker and a partner. If hopes are disappointed again, the price of failure will be too high for all."

    Source: Obama says Mideast peace moment 'must be seized' - Yahoo! News
     
  2. MziziMkavu

    MziziMkavu JF-Expert Member

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    Obama cautiously hopeful as Mideast talks begin



    [​IMG] Play Video AP – Obama: Palestinians, Israelis relaunch talks




    [​IMG] AP – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks on the Middle East peace negotiations in the East Room of …



    WASHINGTON – Under the shadow of fresh violence, President Barack Obama solemnly convened the first direct Israeli-Palestinian talks in two years Wednesday, challenging Mideast leaders to seize a fleeting opportunity to deliver peace to a region haunted by decades of hostility.
    "I am hopeful, cautiously hopeful, but hopeful," Obama said with the leaders of Jordan, Egypt, Israel and the Palestinians beside him in the crowded East Room of the White House. Earlier Obama had met with each individually, and they gathered afterward for dinner.


    The mood appeared cordial as the leaders commenced the talks aimed at creating a sovereign Palestinian state beside a secure Israel.
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shook hands warmly and thanked Obama for pressing for the renewed talks despite such seemingly intractable differences as Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank. The two leaders begin face-to-face talks on Thursday at the State Department.

    "Do we have the wisdom and the courage to walk the path of peace?" Obama asked.
    In turn, each of the leaders answered positively but with qualifications. And they spoke hopefully of chances for a breakthrough within the one-year timeframe prescribed by Obama.
    Netanyahu said his nation desires a lasting peace, not an interlude between wars. He called Abbas "my partner in peace," and said, "Everybody loses if there is no peace."
    Abbas urged Israel to freeze settlement construction in areas the Palestinians want as part of their new state, and to end its blockade of Gaza, which is controlled by the militant Hamas movement. The settlements issue is a central obstacle to achieving a permanent peace.

    "We will spare no effort and we will work diligently and tirelessly to ensure these negotiations achieve their cause," Abbas said, as translated into English.
    Urging them on, Obama said, "This moment of opportunity may not soon come again."
    While the talk at the White House was of peace, violence continued unabated in the region.
    Obama assailed those responsible for the killings of four Israelis near the West Bank city of Hebron on Tuesday.

    The militant Hamas movement, which rejects Israel's right to exist and opposes peace talks, claimed responsibility.
    On Wednesday, Israeli police reported still another attack, saying Palestinian militants wounded two Israelis driving in the West Bank. Two people were reported injured, their car riddled with bullets.
    With the Israelis and Palestinians far apart on key issues, expectations for the Washington talks are low, yet the stakes are high.

    Direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations broke off in December 2008, in the final weeks of the George W. Bush administration. The Obama administration spent its first 20 months in office coaxing the two sides back to the bargaining table.
    The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a constant source of grievance and unrest in the Muslim world. The failure of past peace efforts has left both sides with rigid demands and public ambivalence about the value of a negotiated settlement.

    American officials are hopeful they can at least get the two sides this week to agree to a second round of talks, likely to be held in the second week of September. That could be followed by another meeting between Obama, Netanyahu and Abbas on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly near the end of the month in New York.

    Beyond the settlements, Israel and the Palestinians face numerous hurdles, notably the borders of a future Palestinian state, the political status of Jerusalem and the fate of Palestinian refugees.
    Also complicating the outlook are internal Palestinian divisions that have led to a split between Abbas' West Bank-based administration and Hamas, which is in control of Gaza. Hamas is not part of the negotiations and has asserted that talks will be futile.
    Each of the leaders pledged to work diligently toward peace, but they also made plain that their own national interests must be satisfied.

    "We do not seek a temporary respite between outbursts of terror," said Netanyahu. And he stressed the central importance of security assurances for the Jewish state as part of any land-for-peace agreement with the Palestinians.

    "We left Lebanon, we got terror. We left Gaza, we got terror. We want to ensure that territory we concede will not be turned into a third Iranian-sponsored terror enclave aimed at the heart of Israel," Netanyahu said. Peace, he added, must "end the conflict between us once and for all."
    In earlier remarks Wednesday, Obama emphasized the urgency of making peace, while dampening expectations for a sudden breakthrough. He was adamant that violence would not derail the process.

    "There are going to be extremists and rejectionists who, rather than seeking peace, are going to be seeking destruction," he said. "The United States is going to be unwavering in its support of Israel's security. And we are going to push back against these kinds of terrorist attacks. And so the message should go out to Hamas and everyone else who is taking credit for these heinous crimes that this is not going to stop us."
    Said Jordan's King Abdullah II, who is supporting the talks along with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak: "Mr. President, we need your support as a mediator, honest broker and a partner. If hopes are disappointed again, the price of failure will be too high for all."

    Source: Obama cautiously hopeful as Mideast talks begin - Yahoo! News
     
  3. MziziMkavu

    MziziMkavu JF-Expert Member

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    Israel, Palestinians agree to 2nd round of talks


    [​IMG] Play Video AP – All sides pledge cooperation in Mideast talks




    [​IMG] AP – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton looks on as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, right, and …


    By MATTHEW LEE and MATTI FRIEDMAN, Associated Press Writers Matthew Lee And Matti Friedman, Associated Press Writers – 17 mins ago
    WASHINGTON – Israeli and Palestinian leaders agreed Thursday to produce a framework for a permanent peace deal and to hold a second round of direct talks this month, a modest achievement reached amid deep skepticism about success at their first such session in two years.
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet again on Sept. 14 and 15 in the Middle East, likely at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik, with an eye toward forging the outline of a pact that could lead to a final agreement in a year's time.
    The United States' special Mideast envoy George Mitchell announced the agreement after several hours of talks between Netanyahu and Abbas at the State Department at which the two leaders pledged to work through the region's deeply ingrained mutual hostility and suspicion to resolve the long-running conflict.
    "I believe these two leaders — President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu — are committed to doing what it takes to achieve the right results," Mitchell told reporters. He refused to discuss specifics of what the framework agreement would entail but said it would lay out the "fundamental compromises" needed for a final settlement.
    Those compromises will involve the thorniest issues that have dogged the parties for decades: the borders of an eventual Palestinian state, the political status of Jerusalem, the fate of Palestinian refugees and security.
    Mitchell said both he and Clinton would be at the next round. Diplomats said it will likely also include other officials from the "Quartet" of Mideast peacemakers — the U.S., the U.N., Russia and the European Union.
    Earlier, Clinton had opened the talks with an appeal for the two leaders to overcome a long history of failed attempts to resolve the conflict and make the difficult compromises needed for peace.
    "I know the decision to sit at this table was not easy," said Clinton, who with Mitchell has been working to relaunch talks stalled for 20 months. "We understand the suspicion and skepticism that so many feel borne out of years of conflict and frustrated hopes."
    "But, by being here today, you each have taken an important step toward freeing your peoples from the shackles of a history we cannot change and moving toward a future of peace and dignity that only you can create," she said.
    Flanked by Abbas and Netanyahu at the head of a U-shaped table in the State Department's ornate Benjamin Franklin room, Clinton said the Obama administration was committed to a settlement. She stressed, though, that the heavy lifting must be done by Netanyahu and Abbas with support from the international community, particularly the Arab and Israeli publics.
    "We will be an active and sustained partner," she said. "But we cannot and we will not impose a solution. Only you can make the decisions necessary to reach an agreement and secure a peaceful future for the Israeli and Palestinian people."
    Netanyahu and Abbas vowed to work together but each outlined concessions required from the other.
    "I see in you a partner for peace," Netanyahu told Abbas. "Together we can lead our people to a historic future that can put an end to claims and to conflict. Now this will not be easy. A true peace, a lasting peace would be achieved only with mutual and painful concessions from both sides."
    Abbas called on Israel to end Jewish settlements in the West Bank and other areas that the Palestinians want to be part off their own state. Netanyahu insisted that any agreement must assure Israel's security as a Jewish state.
    "We do know how hard are the hurdles and obstacles we face during these negotiations — negotiations that within a year should result in an agreement that will bring peace," Abbas said.
    Thursday's negotiations are the first since the last effort broke down in December 2008. A spate of violence this week in the West Bank and concerns about Israeli settlement activity have cast low expectations.
    Underscoring the talks' fragility, gunmen from the militant Palestinian Hamas movement killed four Israeli residents of a West Bank settlement on Tuesday. And, on Wednesday, hours before the leaders ate dinner at the White House, Hamas gunmen wounded two Israelis as they drove in their car in another part of the West Bank.
    Hamas rejected the talks and stepped up its rhetoric as the ceremony in Washington began.
    "These talks are not legitimate because the Palestinian people did not give any mandate to Mahmoud Abbas and his team to negotiate on behalf of our people," said Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman. "Therefore, any result and outcome of these talks does not commit us and does not commit our people, it only commits Abbas himself."
    Further complicating the situation is the fact that the talks will face their first test within weeks, at the end of September, when the Israeli government's declared slowdown in settlement construction is slated to end.
    Palestinians have said that a renewal of settlement construction will torpedo the talks. The Israeli government is divided over the future of the slowdown, and a decision to extend it could split Netanyahu's hawkish coalition. Netanyahu has given no indication so far that it will continue beyond the deadline.

    Source: Israel, Palestinians agree to 2nd round of talks - Yahoo! News
     
  4. Buchanan

    Buchanan JF Diamond Member

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    Hamas wakiona viongozi wanakaa mezani wanaanza kurusha makombora na kujilipua!
     
  5. Yegomasika

    Yegomasika JF-Expert Member

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    Hasa wakiona kama hivi na mwanamama katikati ndio inazidi kuwa balaa!.

     
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