Palestinian Leader Opens Door To Talks with Hamas

Posted on Thu, Jun 05, 2008 @ 04:50 PM
Mahmoud Abbas proposes course that may cause Israel to break off peace discussions
Google News
Details: Palestinian Leader Opens Door To Talks with Hamas
Israel, Palestine and Hamas
The New York Times carried a report today about Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas's suggestion that talks begin with nemesis Hamas. Clearly frustrated by Israel's continued construction activity in East Jerusalem, the PA president said that if talks succeeded with his rivals, he would call new Palestinian elections.

Tags: east jerusalem, Hamas, mahmoud abbas, Middle East Conflict

Middle East Peace Talks to Resume

Posted on Tue, Apr 01, 2008 @ 03:08 PM
About-Face for Abbas Who Agrees to Meet Olmert
Google News
Details: Middle  East Peace Talks to Resume
Middle East Peace Talks

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas agreed to resume talks with Israel's PM Ehud Olmert, next week. The agreement came following talks with US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, in Jordan.

Tags: Ehud Olmert, Middle East Peace, mahmoud abbas, Peace talks, Condoleezza Rice

Housing Development Continues Unabated in Disputed Territory

Posted on Mon, Mar 31, 2008 @ 04:05 PM
Palestinians see no clear signs of peacemaking in Jerusalem
Google News
Details: Housing Development Continues Unabated in  Disputed Territory
Housing starts East Jerusalem

According to the monitoring group, Peace Now, housing starts in Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem continue despite PM Ehud Olmert's directive to desist. Peace Now reports, "In the four months since the Annapolis summit, which was intended to restart peace talks between Israel and Palestine, Israel issued tenders for the construction of 747 new housing units in occupied East Jerusalem. Plans for another 3,648 housing units were submitted to the public for objection, an important final stage of review before construction is approved."

Last Saturday, at the Arab summit in Damascus, Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel or scuppering efforts to establish a Palestinian state. He said, "Israel is continuing its aggression, its occupation, the construction of settlements and the Judaisation of Jerusalem."

Tags: east jerusalem, Ehud Olmert, mahmoud abbas, Israeli settlements, Peace Now

Jerusalem On and Off the Agenda

Posted on Tue, Feb 19, 2008 @ 03:24 PM

Palestinian president denies agreement to forestall discussion of Jerusalem.
Google BlogSearch
Details:  Jerusalem On and Off the Agenda
Dividing Jerusalem

President Mahmoud Abbas has denied coming to any agreement with Israeli PM Ehud Olmert to delay discussing Jerusalem in the current round of meetings.

As we have noted many times on this blog, Jerusalem is a major, if not the, sticking point.

I came across the following statement from Israel's long-time UN ambassador, the late Abba Eban. Although it's addressing the idea of the internationalization of the city, it captures the issue well when it comes to the identities and ideologies of Jerusalem's people:

“The idea of a separate international regime for Jerusalem has always been a fantasy, and its bizarre anomalies have been exposed in every attempt to put it into effect. It rests on a false picture both of Jerusalem and of the United Nations. Jerusalem is not an ethereal abstraction revolving in a vacuum of history. It is a city of living men and women with sharply defined national allegiances and identities. It cannot be anything that the majority of its citizens do not want it to be.” (Personal Witness, 206) 

Tags: jerusalem, Ehud Olmert, israel, west bank, mahmoud abbas, Palestine, abba eban

In Mid-East, Tony Blair Presses Israelis on Road Map Commitments

Posted on Sun, Feb 10, 2008 @ 03:39 PM
Quartet Mid-East Envoy Acknowledges Positive Palestinian Actions
Google BlogSearch
Details: In Mid-East, Tony Blair Presses Israelis on  Road Map Commitments
Blair visits Ramallah
On Thursday, Reuters reported on Tony Blair's visit to Nablus and Ramallah, where he agreed that the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas has made progress on meeting Road Map security conditions. He pressed Israel to similarly meet its commitments

Tags: middle east, tony blair, israel, mahmoud abbas

Israel Continues Ill-Advised Settlement Expansion

Posted on Mon, Dec 24, 2007 @ 04:49 PM

A sure pathway to remaining locked in conflict

As Reuters reported yesterday, despite the apparent progress made at Annapolis recently, this past weekend Israel confirmed that in 2008 it will build 740 additional homes in two locationsHar Homa/Abu Ghneim (500) and Maale Adumim (240), areas captured by Israel in the 1967 war. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas understandably protested.

Today (Monday) a second round of talks is to begin in Jerusalem between Abbas and Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert. Whatever may be going on in the background (Olmert is politically weak and pressured by rightist partners), such moves do not serve the cause of peace, exacerbate tensions and render a negotiated future much more difficult. As historian Barbara Tuchman put it so well in her book, The March of Folly, governments continue to behave in ways destructive to their best interests long after it has become apparent to all that they are doing so and despite feasible alternativesin a kind of disastrous lockstep.

Tags: Ehud Olmert, Har Homa, Abu Ghneim, Barbara Tuchman, Maale Adumim, mahmoud abbas

French Support Palestinian Bid for Funds

Posted on Mon, Dec 17, 2007 @ 04:56 PM

Israel also has an opportunity to reach a hand out in the interest of peace
French president Nicolas Sarkozy is hosting a one-day conference in Paris, where Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad will seek over $5 billion over the next three years from mostly Arab states to stave off economic collapse. Whether Israel will ease travel restrictions in Gaza and the West Bank in the wake of the Annapolis talks remains to be seen.

Tags: Salam Fayyad, mahmoud abbas, Nicolas Sarkozy

Israeli and Palestinian Presidents Visit Turkey

Posted on Tue, Nov 13, 2007 @ 01:56 PM

As a follow up to the post of a few days ago, here's the BBC's report on Shimon Peres's visit to Turkey. Also visiting is Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Peres's hopes for Annapolis are clear.

Tags: Shimon Peres, mahmoud abbas, Annapolis Middle East Talks

Middle East Peace Talks Just Ahead

Posted on Mon, Nov 05, 2007 @ 02:35 PM

The next round of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations scheduled for the forthcoming Annapolis, Maryland, conference (date yet to be announced) were being actively promoted in Jerusalem today by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Her optimism is being supported by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. There does seem more cause for optimism than in the final round of talks at Taba in late 2000, a last ditch attempt to gain some ground after the failed talks at Camp David, when Bill Clinton was unable to get agreement between Ehud Barak and Yasir Arafat.

Overlapping with Secretary Rice’s visit was the fourth meeting of the Saban Forum, a program of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. It brought “a high-level, bipartisan U.S. delegation to Jerusalem for discussions with their Israeli counterparts on the theme of ‘War and Peace in the Middle East.’” The official report on Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni’s address makes interesting reading. It was also encouraging to note the presence of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

For further background on the potential for peace, view these recent videos:

Charlie Rose Interviews Saud al-Faisal and Tzipi Livni (Click to Play)
Condoleezza Rice Interviewed by Israeli Television


Tags: jerusalem, middle east, Ehud Olmert, israel, mahmoud abbas, Palestine, Tzipi Livni, Condoleezza Rice, Charlie Rose, Saud al-Faisal