Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Peace Talks Resume

President Jimmy Carter and other Elders met with Secretary of State Kerry and other leaders in Washington today. See the story here.

The Elders visited Washington DC yesterday to discuss Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts with high-level officials, including US Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Advisor Susan Rice. At a public debate that evening, they welcomed Kerry’s efforts to restart negotiations and explained why there can be no military solution in Syria.

Carter acknowledged that conditions are far more difficult now than during his presidency, with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas constrained by their respective constituencies. Both leaders “would show great courage to come to the table and make concessions,” he said.

For more information about the Elders, see the website:  http://theelders.org/middle-east-peace

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Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) reports on the possibility that peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine may pick up again.

Peace Talks Resume   See the report from CMEP here.
Agreement to resume talks announced

Reports indicated that Secretary Kerry may have succeeded in his efforts to resume direct Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations!

On Friday night, during his sixth visit to the region in four months, Kerry told reporters in Jordan, “We have reached an agreement that establishes a basis for resuming direct final status negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis…

The agreement is still in the process of being formalized."

Next week, Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat will travel to Washington, DC to hold preliminary talks and hammer out the details for negotiations. His message to reporters was brief and did not mention what the basis of the talks will be.

On Thursday, President Obama spoke on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and encouraged him to continue to work with Kerry to resume negotiations. On Friday, Kerry made the surprise decision to go to Ramallah to personally meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas despite two meetings Kerry already had in Amman with Erekat earlier in the day. It appears this pressure has worked.

Churches for Middle East Peace reports are found here: www.cmep.org

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ELCA Peace Not Walls  reports on the new European Union guidelines which ban fund for Israeli projects in the occupied Palestinian territories.  See the blog post here. 

Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi welcomed the EU announcement as a “significant move.”

She said, "The EU has moved from the level of statements, declarations and denunciations to effective policy decisions and concrete steps which constitute a qualitative shift that will have a positive impact on the chances of peace. The Israeli occupation must be held to account, and Israel must comply with international and humanitarian law and the requirements for justice and peace."

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Friends of Sabeel-North America (FOSNA) reports on the campaign for Palestinian farmers and families in the Cremisan Valley,

FOSNA Campaign for Cremisan Valley - Action Alert
More of you are needed to speak out for Cremisan Valley! Write letters to your local newspapers. Post opinions to Facebook and Twitter.
Click here to learn more and feel confident writing or speaking about the issue.

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Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding (EMEU) also reports on new possibilities for peace talks.  Click here to see the website.

New Movement on Peace Talks between Israelis and Palestinians? 
Read news at this link.

You may have heard this week that US Secretary of State John Kerry has reached an agreement with Israeli and Palestinian leaders that would restart peace negotiations.

While there are many questions about the details and even the significance of this news, there seems to be a growing sense of urgency in the Israeli government to reach an elusive peace deal.

Please continue to pray for a just and lasting peace on both a political level, and also between the everyday Palestinian and Israeli people.  Political peace alone cannot change societal norms, but peace between people on the ground can!  Check out the video here.

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