Middle East peace talks begin, Iraqi Shi’ites killed in coordinated attacks, and EU’s foreign policy chief urges Egyptian leaders to compromise. Today is Monday, July 29, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (C) heads a cabinet meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, July 28, 2013. REUTERS/Issam Rimawi/Pool
Pathway to peace? Top Israeli and Palestinian officials will meet at the U.S. State Department tonight and tomorrow to resume peace talks between the nations for the first time in nearly three years. Secretary of State John Kerry has been working ceaselessly to bring both sides to the negotiating table, visiting the region six times in four months in an attempt to move the peace process forward. Kerry has not outline the topics to be discussed, but announced on July 19 that both sides were prepared to discuss “final status” issues, such as Jewish settlements in the West Bank, the status of East Jerusalem, and Israel’s disputed border:
This time “all of the issues that are at the core of a permanent accord will be negotiated simultaneously,” Silvan Shalom, a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netayahu’s cabinet and rightist Likud party, told Israel’s Army Radio. The Palestinians, with international backing, want their future state to have borders approximating the boundaries of the West Bank, adjacent East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip before Israel captured them in the 1967 Middle East war… [Israeli President Benjamin] Netanyahu had resisted Abbas’s calls to accept the 1967 border formula before talks resumed. Shalom said that the Israeli position would help keep the talks, which are slated to last nine months, comprehensive.
The Israeli government voted on Sunday to release 104 Arab prisoners, paving the way for this week’s talks. Kerry spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the meetings will “serve as an opportunity to develop a procedural work plan for how the parties can proceed with the negotiations in the coming months.”