Bulletin August 17, 2010
Negotiations for Direct Talks Heating Up
There are intense negotiations going in this week between Israel, the United States and the Palestinians, as well as with the Quartet (the US, the EU, the UN, and Russia) over terms under which direct negotiations would resume between Israelis and the Palestinians.
Israel continues to insist that it wants to begin direct negotiation as soon as possible but without preconditions. Palestinians fear that without an agreed framework, Israel with its stronger position would be able to allow negotiations to drag on while Palestinians would remain under pressure of Israeli expansionism into the West Bank and east Jerusalem. President Abbas is insisting that there must be some agreed framework and timetable for the talks, such as the statement issued by the Quartet on March 19 - http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/409607B6476A9116852576EB004854B6 - that called for the conclusion of a negotiated agreement within two years (March 2012).
At his meeting with President Obama on July 6, Prime Minister Netanyahu said he was willing to take risks for peace, yet so far he has made no proposals, saying he is waiting for the beginning of the direct talks.
It was reported earlier last week that the United States is putting intense pressure on President Abbas to begin direct talks.
Churches for Middle East Peace is urging the administration to publically reaffirm United States support for the Quartet statement of March 19 and in particular to call for continued suspension of actions by either side that could undermine confidence or slow down progress toward an agreement to be reached not later than March, 2012.
"Secretary Clinton tries dialing diplomacy for Mideast." AP, August 13, 2010 - http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/409607B6476A9116852576EB004854B6
"Settlement freeze dispute threatens direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks." Christina Case Bryant, Christian Science Monitor, August 16, 2010 - http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2010/0816/Settlement-freeze-dispute-threatens-direct-Israeli-Palestinian-peace-talks
Churches for Middle East Peace
110 Maryland Ave. NE, Suite 311
Washington, DC 20002
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