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Israel believes Abbas on the verge of agreeing to peace talks..

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Last update - 03:34 05/01/2010


Israel believes Abbas on the verge of agreeing to peace talks

By Barak Ravid, Avi Issacharoff, Mazal Mualem and Natasha Mozgovaya

Tags: Israel news





Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed cautious optimism Monday that talks with the Palestinians will soon resume.

"In recent weeks, I've had the impression there is a certain change in atmosphere, and I hope that a maturation that would enable the negotiating process to move forward has occurred," he told a meeting of his Likud faction at the Knesset.

Officials in the Prime Minister's Office said Netanyahu was particularly encouraged by Monday's meeting between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
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For weeks, Abbas has been insisting that he will not resume negotiations unless Israel completely freezes construction in West Bank settlements and in East Jerusalem. But at Monday's meeting, Abbas repeatedly said that he would postpone any decision on whether or not to restart the talks until he sees what happens during next week's visit to Washington by two senior Egyptian officials, Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and intelligence chief Omar Suleiman.

Israeli officials now believe that Abbas will agree to resume the talks after that visit, or else after U.S. envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell's visit a few days later. However, they predicted, he will first try to wrest as many guarantees as possible from the American administration.

Nevertheless, in an interview with the Palestinians News Agency after his meeting with Mubarak, Abbas reiterated that his view on the need for a complete settlement freeze has not changed.


"The minute there is a complete freeze on the settlements and recognition of the international community's decisions, we will return to the negotiating table without reservations," he said.

A senior member of the Palestinian negotiating team also told Haaretz on Monday that Abbas' demand for a freeze on construction in East Jerusalem has not changed.

Abbas enjoys considerable support for this precondition in the Arab world: The Arab League is backing him on it, and though Egypt has been pressing him to resume negotiations, Saudi Arabia has pointedly refused to join the Egyptian effort.

Abbas insisted that he was not seeking any American guarantees beyond this. "We don't want guarantees; we want a clear, well-prepared basis for negotiations," he said.

But in practice, Palestinian sources said, he apparently plans to insist that this "basis" include a guarantee that talks will resume at the point at which they left off under Netanyahu's predecessor, Ehud Olmert.

According to Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki, the Abbas-Mubarak meeting focused on an Egyptian proposal for reviving the talks that includes a promise of a Palestinian state within two years and American letters of assurance to both Israel and the PA about the nature of the final-status agreement.

Prior to the meeting, Zaki stressed that at the moment, these are ideas only. "Everyone is thinking about the best way to restart the talks," he told the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram. "If these ideas are realized, everyone will welcome it."




Netanyahu, at his meeting with Likud MKs, also stressed that the current flurry of diplomatic activity is focused solely on ideas for reviving the talks. Commenting on reports in the press about various concessions he has allegedly agreed to make on final-status issues, he said, "The peace plans that are being ascribed to me in the media are untrue."

"We are serious in our intention to reach a peace agreement, but we will insist that the outcome of the negotiations be determined at the negotiating table," he continued. "Israel is ready for negotiations with the Palestinian Authority without preconditions."

At a meeting Monday with former British prime minister Tony Blair, who is now serving as the Quartet's special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Netanyahu urged the international community to press Abbas to resume the talks.

"We must start talking," he said. "The international community must refrain from taking steps that are liable to cause the Palestinian side to harden its positions. Instead, everyone must act in a way that will encourage the Palestinians to return to negotiations."

The Quartet is comprised of the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia.

But unlike Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman expressed pessimism yesterday about the possibility of talks with the Palestinians achieving results in the near future even if they do resume.

"It will not be possible to reach a complete agreement in two years," Lieberman warned Blair during his meeting with the envoy. "It is not a realistic target. We must begin direct talks without committing to any deadline. In the past, we have set deadlines that were not kept and it led to violence."

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This is one of the signs of movement as Israel declared it commitment to freeze the settlements (and signal its acceptance of future remove settlements) it seem that now the Palestinians can negotiate.

the question is if the Palestinians will be able to have one political system, and it is reasonable to assume that the release of the Palestinian prisoners (gilad shalit case) will enable such move as Hamas will expect to be able to gain political power out of that.

will we move forward? I guess yes. but the risks of violence from the Israeli settlers or Palestinian pro-violence-resistance can lead to another halt in that progress - when we get closer to peace, the violence will increase and that is the time to avoid blame game.
Far as I know Abbas's term in office has expired.
You read the news with the wrong filter,
Abbas extended his term and wish to be replaced (or to pressure Israel).

The question of democratic process is not relevant now when the people of Palestine are not free. if Abbas's term in office has expired and there is no Palestinian legitimate leadership that Israelis will not have whom to negotiate with and the Nakba will be continued.

the fact that Abbas's term in office has expired is a sign that the palestinians are not ready to sign any agreement as there is no one responsible.
I want to comment that I think that Abbas need to work to find solution for the Palestinian split and the governance legitimation, but we need to support this effort and not as some Europeans and non Palestinians who come and try to force democracy on the Palestinian before the Palestinian has condition for democracy.

Democracy as a way to legitimate a governance is problematic, as it is problematic in Israel, for unstable society occupancy by align force the change will not be democratic, a sustainable change will lead to a democratic system.
There are many obstcales infront abbas to achieve these things most of theme is israeli mesurements that prevment him from doing elections release the presioners stop settelments and so on to persuade his people that there are benifets from negotiations and peacewith the israeli
I also see a lot responsibility over the Israeli leadership, the settlement halted ... for 10 month and east Jerusalem settlement was not freeze. also Gaza siege enhance the Fatah Hamas conflict.

but we should look at the whole picture, there are Israeli elements that are contra productive, same goes to the Palestinian society this is sad ... and normal.

We also know that we do not have equal forces the Israelis has stronger force and economy while the Palestinian Authority is not fully free; but we need to see it as a system, where some of the blockages are in Israel society and other blockage are in Palestine society.

so as an activists we should keep balance, not to blame equally rather recognize the dis-balance of reality. our balance need to focus on the future that include all of us, exactly as the current reality includes all of us. but the future we need to create is a balances reality of mutual respect where all kids have opportunity to be good men and women and share this wonderful planet.
A New American Peace Initiative Identified in Maariv

Say your prayers for understanding between the parties because this is the moment!
Shalom-Salaam-Peace,

[Article translated by JJ Goldberg below]

Larry



January 5, 2010, 1:40am The Forward
Is Bibi Ready for '67 Lines? So Says Maariv Report on New U.S. Peace Bid
By J.J. Goldberg

Maariv published a story (in Hebrew – my translation is below) on Monday, January 4, by its top political correspondent, Ben Caspit outlining what is described as a detailed American initiative to reconvene Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and reach a permanent agreement in two years. What is particularly surprising is the clear implication that Washington has Netanyahu’s consent to enter a negotiation that will result in a return virtually to the 1967 borders.

The Jerusalem Post also reported the purported American plan, giving less detail but adding that it had received Egyptian confirmation (Caspit’s story cites no sources). The Post also quotes Bibi as saying there is “no truth” in media reports that he has agreed to “certain viewpoints, plans and border lines.”

Read on for Caspit’s full report on the American plan, translated into English:
The American peace plan: main points
By Ben Caspit

Pressure is mounting on Palestinian Authority chairman Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) to return to the negotiating table with Israel on the basis of “the American peace plan.” The heavy pressure pplied yesterday (Jan. 3) by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is getting backing from the United States as well as from an unexpected player in the arena: Israeli President Shimon Peres. Maariv has learned that Peres has had contacts recently with Abu Mazen, including direct telephone conversations, and has urged him to return to the negotilating table. As far as is known, Peres’s activity is coordinated with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and is taking place at his request.

According to the draft of the American peace plan, Israel and the PA will immediately open negotiations toward a permanent accord. The target date for agreement is two years from the beginning of the negotiations.
The first topic they will discuss will be the matter of permanent borders. The target date for agreement on borders will be nine months from the opening of negotiations.

The goal: achieving a draft border agreement before the expiration of the Israeli construction freeze in the West Bank, so that the freeze will not end at the expiration date but will coordinated with the agreement—Israel will resume construction in areas that will be within its permanent borders, according to the draft reached by the sides. In all areas outside the agreement, the freeze will continue.

The principle of the talks: to address both the Palestinian demand to receive the territory that Israel conquered in 1967 (or an identical amount of land) and the Israeli demand for defensible borders. On the agenda: territorial swaps.
Abu Mazen will need sweeping pan-Arab backing.

After an agreement is reached on borders, the sides will move to discussions of the other key points of dispute: Jerusalem and the refugees. The Palestinians will receive an American letter containing assurances that the deadline (two years) will be final, and there will not be postponements after that. If an agreement Is not reached, the Palestinians will seek American backing for their demand to receive territory equal in size to the area that was under Arab rule before 1967.

The assessment is that Israel will seek a parallel American letter reaffirming George Bush’s letters to Ariel Sharon in 2004.
It is not yet clear if the heavy pressure on Abu Mazen from all sides will bear fruit. The day before yesterday his aides sounded pessimistic, but it is possible that at the meeting withy President Mubarak things will change.

The Americans and the Egyptians are aware that Abu Mazen will need strong pan-Arab backing, so as not to appear soft in comparison to Hamas’ tough stance. It is likely that an effort will be made to achieve an Arab League resolution calling on Abu Mazen to return to negotiations, thereby giving him backing.

The important question now being asked, if the sides do return to negotiations, is what will happen if the talks run into difficulties before the deadline for permanent borders. Will the Americans present their own plan at that stage (based on former President Clinton’s initiative) and try to impose it on the sides? Washington itself has not come to a decision on this.

The problem of both leaders: domestic opposition
No less important is th question of the two leaders’ ability to deal with the tough opposition they face at home. Abu Mazen is at a disadvantage vis a vis Hamas where relations with Israel are concerned, particularly given the acceleration of contacts over a prisoner swap to free Gilad Shalit.
While Hamas is seen as “bringing Israel to its knees” by force, Abu Mazen could be viewed as going down on his knees once again, without receiving anything in return.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s problem is no less difficult: his coalition is fragile, and it is not clear if it will stand up under this sort of negotiation, which is based on an almost certain return to the 1967 lines. It is not clear if Netanyahu intends to move toward this framework, if he has the ability to bear the political price, or whether he is trying to gain time and hope that the Palestinians will be the ones to sink the process and take the blame.

If Netanyahu does mean it when he says “try me,” it is not clear why he burned his bridges with Tzipi Livni in the bid to dismantle Kadima, which broke down last week. In his conversation with Mubarak last week, Netanyahu refused to show his cards, and asked the Egyptian president to tell Abu Mazen that he would hear “surprising things” from him face to face, if Abu Mazen will agree to the three-way meeting at Sharm el-Sheikh that he was to propose to Mubarak today.
Peace process will not move towards if this mentality still exist in the israeli goverment and putting obstcales on the road by not commite to the peace proces specialy stopping settelments complettely and not just freezing it.Beside continuing land taking in west bank beside the wall . these and other measurements freezing peace .So the Israeli goverment must do somthing to encourage the palestinian to go on in peace process . how peace can achieved through the settelers activities in east jerusalem and other places or the statements of israeli ministers, army actions on the ground in west bank and Gaza . ASLO PALESTINIAN HAVE SOMETHING TO ACHIEVE ,BUT THE ISRAELI HAS BIG SHARE TO PROVE THERE GOOD WELL TOWARDS PEACE PROCESS. WE SEE AFTER 15 YEARS OF NEGOTIATIONS WHAT HAD ACGIEVED?
There have been "talks" for 61 years. I don't believe in them. The Israeli people who want peace need to go into the Palestinian territories and become active participants in Palestinian resistance. Such as, participate in the olive harvest. Pick up rubble in Gaza. Bring stones and start building. Imagine? There would be a media black out but the people themselves could record the activities.
At first to arrive to these factsthey must be changed have new way of thinkink consciousness to accept and respect the otherbuilt new image of him in his mind . this need from peace maker to persuade theme to change after this they can do what you suggest . we have many openminded israeli come and do some good works in west bank and Gaza.. slsoin our side there are pesons must change to arrive to the same facts
seansmom

BEEN THERE, Done That....

Between 1967 and 2000 there were no walls, no checkpoints and people interchanges. I visited and ate at restaurants in Ramalla, Jenin and Nablus, bought olive wood souvenirs in Bethlehem, had my car fixed in Ramalla. So what happened?

Now if an Jew ventures there he is liable to get lynched statistically speaking.

It will take a very long time to rebuild the shattered trust unless one is deaf and dumb to see that this is happening.
Lets not bore each other with grandfather stories. I was born in Eastern Europe and my family had extensive real estate holdings. I could not go there until only a few years back and certainly cannot get my inheritance back in any case. I am just tired of those rusty keys and victim hood stories.Move ON.
Israel does not ned to justify its policies in the same manner as no other nations do. War is hell and shxt happens.

In fact , as you well know, you and I live on Indian lands while they languish on reservations. Until 1960's even their language was not allowed and their children were forcibly taken off reservations and taught English.

Arabs confiscated Jewish Land between 1948 and 1967 and their religious sites destroyed and even used as Latrines by the Jordanians. So lets stop this victim hood issue. We certainly are not squacking about losing homes and Land in Arab lands and we certainly do not perpetuate that refugee nonsense as the Palestinians are doing.

I do object in the strongest terms to the use of a loaded word such as subjugate. Over 99% of Palestinians live under the PA. But I am sure that you did not mean them.

You want peace than work to get it instead of wanting to be given a State. But than I am not sure that the Palestinians do want a State.

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