JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Middle East peace talks launched in Washington just five weeks ago with a roll of drums have wasted no time getting into a classic bind.
Their survival is now in the balance. It depends on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, depending on one’s point of view.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Arab League foreign ministers meet in Libya on Friday to hear Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s case for suspending peace talks with Israel until it extends a moratorium on settlement building in the West Bank.
Launched in Washington just five weeks ago, the talks veered into a cul-de-sac on September 26, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Nentayhu refused to extend a halt to construction of Jewish settlements, which he had said would last 10 months.
(Photos: Burned carpet in mosque above, burned Koran below, 4 Oct 2010/Ammar Awad)
Jewish settlers opposed to a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians were accused of setting fire to a mosque in the West Bank on Monday, burning the Koran and scrawling threats in Hebrew on its walls. “Mosques, we burn,” said a warning scribbled at the door of the smoke-smudged mosque of Beit Fajjar south of Bethlehem on the day Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appealed for cool heads to avert the collapse of U.S.-brokered peace talks.
The green-carpeted floor of the mosque was burned to a black crust in a dozen places where it was doused with kerosene and set alight at around three in the morning. A dozen copies of the Koran were scorched by the fire. Palestinians said settlers were behind the attack. “The settlers’ message is: terrorize the Palestinian people,” said Mohammad Hussein, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who came to inspect the damage and talk to the locals.
BEIT FAJJAR, West Bank (Reuters) – Jewish settlers opposed to a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians were accused of setting fire to a mosque in the West Bank on Monday, burning the Koran and scrawling threats in Hebrew on its walls.
“Mosques, we burn,” said a warning scribbled at the door of the smoke-smudged mosque of Beit Fajjar south of Bethlehem on the day Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appealed for cool heads to avert the collapse of U.S.-brokered peace talks.
BEIT FAJJAR, West Bank (Reuters) – Palestinians accused Jewish settlers of setting fire to a West Bank mosque on Monday, an incident that coincided with U.S. efforts to rescue peace talks halted by a dispute over settlement building.
Fifteen Korans and the mosque’s carpet were burned, said Ali Thawabti, a municipal council official in the village of Beit Fajjar.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – U.S. envoy George Mitchell was shuttling between Israel and the Palestinians for a second day on Friday to save Middle East peace talks threatened with collapse after only four weeks of direct negotiation.
Mitchell was meeting first with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem then with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
WASHINGTON/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – President Barack Obama was poised on Wednesday to launch a new U.S. push for Middle East peace even as a flare-up of Hamas violence and a deadlock over Israeli settlements loomed as potential deal-breakers.
Preparing to host a Washington summit to restart direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Obama also faced the challenge of overcoming deep skepticism about his chances of succeeding where so many of predecessors have failed.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Four Israeli settlers were shot dead in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday in an attack that Islamist Palestinian group Hamas said was its first assault on Middle East peace talks due to start on Wednesday in Washington.
Declaring war on negotiations promoted by U.S. President Barack Obama a few hours before he was to inaugurate fresh talks at a White House banquet with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Hamas militants who are backed by Iran said the killings were just the first phase.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – It’s the proverbial elephant in the room, the ghost at the banquet, the specter no one wants to acknowledge.
Even if Israel and the Palestinians can scale a mountain of skepticism and reach a peace treaty in the next 12 months, 40 percent of Palestinians would be part of it in name only, because they live in the Gaza Strip.
WASHINGTON/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel and the Palestinians accepted on Friday an invitation by the United States and other powers to restart direct talks on September 2 in a modest step toward forging a deal within 12 months to create a Palestinian state and peacefully end one of the world’s most intractable conflicts.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet with President Barack Obama on September 1, before formally resuming direct negotiations the following day at the State Department in Washington.