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Hillary Clinton hopes a peace agreement can be reached within a year, in first direct negotiations since 2008

Chris McGreal in Washington guardian.co.uk,
Friday 20 August 2010 16.59 BST

The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, said the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians would aim to 'resolve all final status issues within one year. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Israel and the Palestinians are to resume direct peace talks next month, Hillary Clinton has announced.

The US secretary of state said she hoped a comprehensive peace agreement could be reached within a year, as she confirmed the first direct negotiations since 2008.

Talks will begin in Washington on 2 September to “relaunch direct negotiations to resolve all final status issues which we believe can be completed within one year”, Clinton said.

The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, will fly to Washingtonfor an initial meeting hosted by Barack Obama.

The Egyptian and Jordanian leaderships have also been invited, as has Tony Blair, the envoy for the Middle East quartet – the US, UN, EU and Russia – in view of “his important work to help Palestinians build the institutions of their future state”.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/aug/20/israel-palestinians-resume-peace-talks

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Jeremy R. Hammond, Foreign Policy Journal, June 17, 2010

A Palestinian boy throws a stone at an Israeli  tank in the  occupied West Bank.

Myth #1 – Jews and Arabs have always been in conflict in the region.

Although Arabs were a majority in Palestine prior to the creation of the state of Israel, there had always been a Jewish population, as well. For the most part, Jewish Palestinians got along with their Arab neighbors. This began to change with the onset of the Zionist movement, because the Zionists rejected the right of the Palestinians to self-determination and wanted Palestine for their own, to create a “Jewish State” in a region where Arabs were the majority and owned most of the land.

For instance, after a series of riots in Jaffa in 1921 resulting in the deaths of 47 Jews and 48 Arabs, the occupying British held a commission of inquiry, which reported their finding that “there is no inherent anti-Semitism in the country, racial or religious.” Rather, Arab attacks on Jewish communities were the result of Arab fears about the stated goal of the Zionists to take over the land.

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By Sonja Karkar, ZNet, April 14, 2010

Today, there is no excuse for not knowing the truth about Palestine, especially what is happening in Gaza. Even taking into account the disinformation spread in mainstream media, there are enough glimpses one gets of a ravaged Gaza and a brutalized people that should compel us to ask questions. There are enough websites and blogs easily available for anyone to learn more, even if it requires sifting through and evaluating the available information. Certainly, the alarm bells should be ringing when our political leaders declare undying fealty to Israel or cavalierly wear it as a badge of honour, despite the documented reports of Israel’s war crimes by human rights groups and official enquiries.

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Biden Condemns Israel’s Approval Of Plan To Build New Settlements In East Jerusalem

Huffington Post/AP First Posted: 03- 9-10 08:37 AM   |   Updated: 03-10-10 02:10 PM

JERUSALEM — Israel approved the construction of 1,600 new homes for Jews in disputed east Jerusalem on Tuesday – a move that immediately clouded a visit by Vice President Joe Biden aimed at repairing strained ties and kickstarting Mideast peace talks.

The Interior Ministry announced the construction plans just as Biden was wrapping up a series of warm meetings with Israeli leaders.

Biden issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon in response:

I condemn the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in East Jerusalem. The substance and timing of the announcement, particularly with the launching of proximity talks, is precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now and runs counter to the constructive discussions that I’ve had here in Israel. We must build an atmosphere to support negotiations, not complicate them. This announcement underscores the need to get negotiations under way that can resolve all the outstanding issues of the conflict. The United States recognizes that Jerusalem is a deeply important issue for Israelis and Palestinians and for Jews, Muslims and Christians. We believe that through good faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree on an outcome that realizes the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem and safeguards its status for people around the world. Unilateral action taken by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations on permanent status issues. As George Mitchell said in announcing the proximity talks, “we encourage the parties and all concerned to refrain from any statements or actions which may inflame tensions or prejudice the outcome of these talks.

Relations between Israel and the Obama administration have been chilly precisely because of the settlement issue.

The U.S., like the Palestinians and the rest of the international community, believes that Israeli settlements built on lands claimed by the Palestinians, including east Jerusalem, undermine peace prospects. President Obama has been more outspoken on the issue than his predecessors.

MORE HERE

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This Is Starting To Get Dangerous For Us

Fire Dog Lake- By: Spencer Ackerman Friday March 12, 2010 5:37 pm

After being humiliated in Jerusalem over the settlement construction in Ramat Shlomo, Joe Biden tells a closed-door group that Israeli intransigence in the peace process “is starting to get dangerous for us… What you’re doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us and it endangers regional peace.” Much more from Laura Rozen, who’s really owned this and should be proud of her work this week. Today Secretary Clinton got in the act. Netanyahu is an obstructionist and it’s good to see the Obama administration remind Israelis that its interests are not abstract things. The truth is it’s not “starting” to get dangerous for us.

My friend Daniel Levy has forgotten more about Israeli politics than I’ll know and he writes that Netanyahu may be the last best hope for the two-state solution. For the life of me I just don’t understand the logic. As best as I can understand, Daniel believes Netanyahu’s obstructionism, combined with statebuilding efforts from Salam Fayyad in the West bank, will strengthen international support for… what? Imposing a solution on Israel?

It’s so easy to be cynical and downtrodden about the prospects for peace and to say that Obama isn’t strong enough and Biden will be content to be bitchslapped in Israel and on and on and on. Maybe Clinton can speak half as bluntly to AIPAC later this month, but I won’t despair if she doesn’t. Because when it comes to Israel/Palestine, it’s tiresome to even talk in terms of hope and other emotional outbursts. There is a cause and a vision and a destination and fuck how hard it is, we have to keep going. Two states, two peoples, no alternatives, no obstructions, no choices, no divergences, nothing else matters. We must run a marathon.

Update: Also, one more fucking thing and then good Shabbos to you. If and when the two-state solution dies and the horrific choice really is the end of a Jewish state or the end of a democratic state, so many writers who wrung their hands over every difficult choice Israel had to make and found it easier to condemn those who urged those difficult choices to be made will suddenly find themselves denouncing the inaction of the past that their irresponsible intellectual choices encouraged.

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by William Pfaff, Antiwar.com, June 26, 2009

PARIS — The Obama administration’s confrontation with Israel over its colonies inside the Palestine territories began as a test of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s willingness to enter serious negotiations on a Middle Eastern settlement. It actually possesses potential dimensions that few today imagine.

Netanyahu first counted on the Likud and settlement lobbies in Washington to produce, as always in the past, a disingenuous formula that would allow the colonies to continue to expropriate Palestinian land and expand the settlements, while the American government oversaw essentially meaningless negotiations with the Palestinians.

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