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September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations’

Netanyahu at AIPAC: No Peace without Recognition of Israel as Jewish

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to work for a “durable peace” with the Palestinians in the coming weeks and reiterated his refusal to accept a deal with Iran that included any uranium enrichment capacity.

Netanyahu, in his speech Tuesday morning to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual conference, embraced an optimistic vision of peace with the Palestinians as the key to broader regional stability.

“I’m prepared to make a historic peace with our Palestinian neighbors,” Netanyahu said.

“Peace would be good for us, peace would be good for the Palestinians, but peace would open up the possibility of establishing formal ties between Israel and leading countries in the Arab world,” he said. “Peace with the Palestinians would turn our relations with them and with many Arab countries into open and thriving relationships.”

Netanyahu repeated a number of his demands of a peace agreement, including Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and a long-term Israeli military presence on the Jordan-Judea and Samaria border, but he suggested that a deal could come soon.

“As we work in the coming days, in the coming weeks, to forge a durable peace, I hope that the Palestinian leadership will stand with Israel and the United States on the right side of the moral divide, the side of peace, reconciliation and hope,” he said.

He paused, waiting for the AIPAC supporters to applaud this vision, and when they did not, he explicitly solicited their applause.

“You can clap — you want to encourage them to do that!” he said.

Netanyahu’s message came a day after meetings he held with President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry.

Obama, before meeting Netanyahu, had told Bloomberg News that he would impress upon him the need to embrace the framework agreement Kerry hopes to unveil soon, and in Netanyahu’s AIPAC speech, he appeared to do so.

The two leaders also discussed the nuclear talks between Iran and the major powers, and in this area, Netanyahu did not appear to budge from his insistence than any deal include a total dismantling of Iran’s nuclear capability, including an end to enrichment.

“The leading powers of the world are talking about leaving Iran with the capability to enrich uranium,” he said. “That would be a grave error.”

Obama and officials in his administration have indicated that leaving Iran with a limited enrichment capability is the likeliest outcome of the talks.

Netanyahu said that Israel could not accept such a status.

“We will never be brought to the brink of extinction again,” he said. ”As prime minister of Israel, I will do whatever I must do to defend the Jewish state of Israel.”

Netanyahu also repeated his call for enhanced sanctions on Iran, something that Obama has rejected, saying they could scuttle the talks.

“You know how you get that agreement with Iran?” Netanyahu said. “Not by relieving pressure, but by adding pressure!”

A focus of Netanyahu’s speech was the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement targeting Israel, which he described as anti-Semitic.

“Those who wear the BDS label should be treated as we treat any anti-Semite and bigot — they should be exposed and condemned,” he said. “The boycotters should be boycotted!”

Netanyahu to Obama: Israel Cannot Allow Nuclear Iran

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told President Obama that Israel cannot let Iran get a nuclear bomb and said an end to uranium enrichment is an Israeli demand of any agreement with Iran.

“If Iran is prevented from enriching uranium and dismantles fully its military nuclear capability,” Israel would accept the deal, the Israeli prime minister told Obama on Monday when they met at the White House in the Oval Office.

Obama and U.S. officials have said that Iran is likely to be left with a limited enrichment capability as part of any deal.

“Israel cannot permit such a state to have the ability to make a bomb,” Netanyahu said. “We just cannot be brought back to the brink of destruction. I as the prime minister of Israel will do whatever I must to defend the Jewish state.”

Netanyahu also appeared to push back against warnings from Obama in an interview published Sunday by Bloomberg View that Israeli settlement expansion and a failure to achieve a peace agreement with the Palestinians would lead to Israel’s international isolation.

“Israel has been doing its part, and I regret to say the Palestinians haven’t,” Netanyahu said, saying he expected an end to Palestinian incitement and recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

“That’s what the people of Israel expect me to do, to stand strong against criticism, against pressure.” he said.

Obama refrained from pushing back in the Oval Office appearance, confining his remarks to pledging to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and commending Netanyahu for his commitment to the peace process.

US Convening Investors Conference for Palestinians

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

The United States is convening an investors conference to help the Palestinian economy.

The conference, to take place March 8-9 in Prague, is tied to the U.S. bid to bring about a peace agreement between the Palestinians and Israel. It will be organized by the ambassador to the Czech Republic, Norm Eisen, who is close to President Obama and the U.S. Jewish community.

Anne Patterson, an assistant secretary of state, said Tuesday that the Prague conference would include Palestinian officials; figures who have been deeply involved in Israeli-Palestinian peace brokering such as Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, and Madeleine Albright, a former U.S. secretary of state; and 50 businesses.

“The conference will help companies who might want to invest in the Palestinian economy to take the first steps to do so, and help companies who are already investing there (or who have started thinking about it) to take their next steps,” she said at a conference in Jordan organized by the U.S. Chamber of Conference and focused on investment in the region.

Patterson said the conference would be in support of Secretary of State John Kerry’s plan “to bring billions of dollars of new private sector investment to the Palestinian economy over the coming years.” His framework agreement would be the basis of peace talks going forward.

Patterson tied the initiative to U.S. efforts to bring about a peace agreement.

“A peace agreement will create enormous opportunities for this region, as investor perceptions of political risk improve,” she said.

AIPAC Lobbying to Address Iran, Peace Process

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

The agenda for thousands of American Israel Public Affairs Committee activists who will meet with lawmakers next month includes Iran’s nuclear ambitions and Israeli-Palestinian talks.

“From March 2-4, more than ten thousand AIPAC activists will be in Washington for our annual policy conference,” according to an email the group sent this week to lawmakers.

The activists’ visit to Capitol Hill is traditionally the final event of the annual conference.

“As the culmination of the conference, the activists will meet with their Senators and Representatives on Capitol Hill to discuss the U.S.-Israel relationship including aid to Israel, Iran’s nuclear quest, and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process,” it said. “The meetings are an excellent opportunity for members to see familiar faces from their districts and states as well as to meet and greet new constituents—all of whom share a deep concern about the U.S.-Israel relationship.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to address the conference.

The lobbying comes as tensions continue to simmer between the Obama and Netanyahu governments over U.S. plans to unveil a framework for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, which likely includes elements that will rankle Israel’s government, as well as over sanctions-for-nuclear-rollbacks talks between the major world powers and Iran that Netanyahu says are emboldening Iran.

AIPAC expects 14,000 activists this year. Its lobbying on the last day of the conference usually is attached to a legislative initiative, such as a bill, a resolution or a letter.

The email did not name any such initiative, but AIPAC generally does not unveil these until the eve of the conference.

Abbas Tells Supporters He Will Not Recognize Israel as Jewish State

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

Mahmoud Abbas said in a speech to supporters that he will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state and will not sign a peace deal that does not include eastern Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.

The Palestinian Authority chairman made the inflammatory remarks on Saturday during a visit by hundreds of Palestinian activists to his Ramallah headquarters in Samaria, the Associated Press reported.

Abbas also told the delegation that without East Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state, there will be “no peace between us and Israel.”

According to Ma’an, Abbas promised he would reiterate this stance during a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday.

“He will be told that occupied East Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Palestine, and without this there will be no peace between us and Israel,” Abbas insisted.

He added that he heard that the Israelis had refused to mention Jerusalem in any talks or negotiations.

“Let them say whatever they say,” he responded. “Unless it is mentioned clearly and marked in big fonts that it is the capital of the state of Palestine, there will be no peace with them and I want them to hear this.”

“Our language is understandable. We have been hearing lots of talks about the capital here and there. The (Palestinian) capital is Jerusalem and its surroundings in Jerusalem which were occupied in 1967.”

Jerusalem doesn’t mean Abu Dis, but Abu Dis is part of Jerusalem, he added, referring to a neighborhood of Jerusalem cut off by the separation wall from the rest of the city.

He also said that he would not negotiate beyond the original nine-month deadline set by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for the U.S.-backed negotiations, to end in a final status deal. After the deadline, which expires in May, Abbas said he will seek international recognition for a Palestinian state without an agreement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he will not sign an agreement unless the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Kerry reportedly will return soon to the region in order to present a framework agreement which covers all of the core issues to the Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.

 

JTA content was used in this report.

Kerry Leaves Israel without ‘Framework Agreement’

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Israel published plans to build nearly 300 Judea and Samaria apartments as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry wrapped up a visit to the Middle East without an official framework agreement between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.

Kerry left Israel for the United States on Monday after pressing U.S.-brokered Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations for several days.

The framework agreement reportedly will deal with all core issues — borders, security, refugees, Jerusalem and mutual recognition, among others — and pull together the ideas that have been discussed in peace negotiations over the past five months.

On Sunday, building plans were published for 272 housing units in two Judea and Samaria settlements, Ofra and Karnei Shomron, The Associated Press reported, citing an Israeli defense official. The plans had been approved in October.

With the publishing of the plans, building could begin in the coming weeks.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had asked Housing Minister Uri Ariel to delay announcement of the tenders for the construction of 1,400 housing units in the Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem until after Kerry’s visit, the Israeli media reported last week. Reports had said Netanyahu wanted to announce the tenders last month on the heels of the third Palestinian prisoner release.

On Monday, Netanyahu reportedly told Knesset members from his Likud party that he would oppose withdrawal from settlements such as Hebron and Beit El, which are not part of major settlement blocs but are “important to the Jewish people,” according to The Jerusalem Post, citing lawmakers at the faction meeting.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman on Sunday advocated moving the border as part of a final peace settlement that would result in an exchange of population in the mostly Israeli-Arab area of Wadi Ara.

Kerry to Remain in Israel for Additional ‘Peace Talks’ Meetings

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State Kohn Kerry reportedly will remain in Israel in order to hold additional talks leading to an Israeli –Palestinian peace treaty.

Kerry, who arrived in Israel on Thursday, flew to Saudi Arabia on Sunday morning in order to report to Arab leaders on the negotiations. He told reporters in Israel as he left that he would return Sunday night and could stay up to several days longer in order to continue guiding the peace process forward.

Kerry addressed progress in the talks Saturday night in Ramallah in remarks with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, following a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the Muqata.

“I am confident that the talks we’ve had in the last two days have already fleshed out and even resolved certain kinds of issues and presented new opportunities for others. That’s the name of this game. It’s a tough process, step by step, day by day,” Kerry said.

From Thursday evening to Sunday morning Kerry met three times each with Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his tenth visit to Israel since taking office.

Kerry added that both Netanyahu and Abbas “have remained absolutely steadfast to this effort and committed to the notion that two peoples living side by side in peace and security is a goal worth fighting for and that the progress being made is sufficient to encourage people to keep going. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do, and I think over the next week we have some very serious homework – all of us – to do.”

On Friday, Kerry surprised a group of university student leaders visiting Israel through the American Jewish Committee’s Project Interchange by dropping in to a briefing being conducted by State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki for the university student delegations. Psaki had been giving the students an in-depth briefing on the region when Kerry stopped in and took some questions.

The students, including campus media leaders such as editors-in-chief of their campus newspapers, from across the U.S. , and California university student leaders, met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, both in Israel and in Ramallah, during their visit.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/kerry-to-remain-in-israel-for-additional-peace-talks-meetings/2014/01/05/

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