Archive for the ‘West Bank’ Category

Obama Launching First Diplomatic Mission To Middle East

January 25, 2009

The day Barack Obama became President of the United States, Israeli tanks were rumbling out of Gaza and Palestinians were piled up awaiting burial. Unitid Nations storehouse were in ruins.  Accusations were flying that Israel had used white phosphorus — a substanced banned for use in populated areas by civilized people.   It would be difficult to make the other top priorities of the world scene more important than the festering and violent disputes of the Middle East. Despite Russia-Georgia, North Korea, disagreements with China, Pakistan, troubles in Afghanistan and other disputes, Barack Obama is squarely and rightly facing the Middle East….

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President Barack Obama’s special envoy to the Middle East will come to Israel Wednesday for talks on keeping alive a fragile Gaza cease-fire and reviving Mideast negotiations, an Israeli foreign ministry official said Saturday.

It is the new administration’s first direct move into Mideast peace efforts.

By STEVE WEIZMAN, Associated Press Writer

George J. Mitchell will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and senior Israeli officials, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because Washington has not officially announced the trip.
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George Mitchell, US President Barack Obama's newly named ... 
George Mitchell, US President Barack Obama’s newly named Special Envoy to the Middle East.(AFP/Saul Loeb)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton introduced Mitchell in his new role Thursday. His appointment is seen as signaling a renewed push under the Obama administration for a resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Mitchell will also visit Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad at their headquarters in the West Bank, the official said.

The official said Mitchell will discuss restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks after Israel’s three-week offensive in the Gaza Strip, and ways to impose an effective arms blockade against the Hamas militants who rule Gaza and have been firing rockets into Israel for years.

The arms embargo and the opening of the blockaded territory’s borders are key to sustaining separate cease-fires by Israel and Hamas.

Clinton-Livni
Tzipi Livni (Left) with Hillary Clinton

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2009012
5/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_us

Obama Envoy Mitchell May Go To Middle East This Week

January 24, 2009

President Obama’s Middle East envoy George Mitchell may travel to the Middle East as early as this week.

CNN is reporting that Mitchell the schedule is still being planned, but initial stops include Jerusalem; Ramallah, West Bank; Cairo, Egypt; Amman, Jordan; and possibly Saudi Arabia as well as Europe.

President Barack Obama on Thursday named Mitchell as his special envoy to the region.

But it is not yet clear how much Mitchell can do to formulate a new policy that will satisfy all sides in the region.

Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh expressed a widely held view in the Online Journal yesterday:

In naming George Mitchell as special envoy to the Middle East, President Obama unfortunately made statements indicating no departure from the failing policies of previous administrations.

In particular, Obama emphasized Israel’s right to “defend itself,” never once mentioned things like the occupation or international law, attacked Hamas (a duly elected movement that represents a significant portion of the Palestinian people), supported the strangulation of Gaza, demanded no resistance from an occupied people, and supported the Israeli occupiers in their violence that most recently killed over 400 children.

Former Sen. George Mitchell says that "there is no such thing as a conflict that can't be ended."

France’s President Nicholas Sarkozy Seeks Peace in Gaza

January 5, 2009

France’s President Nicholas Sarkozy is no longer President of the European Union, a rotating appoinment that ended on December 31.

But that has not stopped sarkozy from going where he believes he is needed:  during the next few day Sarkozy will be in Egypt, the West Bank, Tel Aviv, Jordan, and Syria, where he will meet with President Bashar al-Assad.

 

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, reacts, with Palestinian ... 
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, reacts, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas upon his arrival in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Monday, Jan. 5, 2009 as part of his two-day Middle East trip to seek ‘paths for peace’ in Gaza. Sarkozy left for Israel and the Palestinian territories where he will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who lost control of Gaza to Hamas in June 2007.(AP Photo/Francois Mori, Pool)
According to the Christian Sciences Monitor: “Sarkozy hosted Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in Paris last week. Sarkozy works well with Washington, and French diplomacy has ties to Arabs, Palestinians, and the Islamist movement. He can talk with Syria. Moreover, Sarkozy’s criticism of Israel’s response to Hamas rockets puts him closer to core EU views than with Prague‘s,” (the Czech President is now in charge of the EU).
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See the Christian Science Monitor report:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20090105/ts_csm/osarkozy_1
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 Related:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas: Can He Regain Gaza?
 

 

Israel Keeps Gaza Goals Vague

December 29, 2008

Israel has dropped tons of bombs on the Gaza Strip in an unprecedented show of force to make Hamas stop rocket attacks, but it has not said it will try to topple the Islamic militants who have ruled the territory for 18 months.

Such a limited definition of goals gives Israel considerable flexibility in deciding when to end the assault, especially if international pressure mounts, while still calling it a success. But this guarded approach also offers Hamas good survival odds, even if the onslaught leaves it badly weakened.

Israel’s unwillingness to reoccupy Gaza or openly try to install a new ruler there gives Hamas considerable leverage in future cease-fire negotiations.

By KARIN LAUB, Associated Press Writer

In exchange for calm on Israel’s border, Hamas demands an end to the crippling blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt after the Hamas takeover of Gaza 18 months ago. Hamas, which won 2006 parliamentary elections, seized control after a power-sharing agreement with the rival Fatah movement collapsed in violence.

Ending the blockade could help Hamas recover quickly and prolong its rule indefinitely. That, in turn, would all but destroy prospects of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

Israel has been negotiating for the past year with Hamas’ rival, moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who controls the West Bank. However, Israel says it cannot implement an agreement as long as the Iranian-backed Hamas, sworn to Israel’s destruction, controls half of what would be a Palestinian state.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081229/ap_on_
re_mi_ea/ml_israel_end_game_analysis