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Fate of Current Peace Talks On Hold

October 1, 2010

by: Joshua Spurlock

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Benjamin Netanyahu and GeorgeMitchell

The settlement freeze was part of an effort to coax the Palestinians into negotiations, preventing the construction of thousands of homes for Israeli citizens in the process. However, Abbas waited months before resuming any substantial peace talks and further waited until the freeze was nearing its end to return to direct talks with Israel.

On Sunday [September 26], Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged Abbas to stay with the talks in a press statement posted on the Prime Minister’s Office [PMO] Web site. However, the statement did not address the settlement freeze or any intention to extend it in some form.

Said Netanyahu, “I say to President Abbas: For the future of both our peoples, let us focus on what is really important. Let us proceed in accelerated, sincere and continuous talks in order to bring about a historic peace framework agreement within one year.”

Netanyahu did point to Israel’s helping the Palestinians during his term in office by easing restrictions on freedom of movement in the West Bank, as well as to say that Israel was prepared to hold “continuous contacts” in order to “find a way to continue the peace talks.”

Later this week, US Mideast Envoy George Mitchell met with leaders in the region. In comments with Mitchell on Wednesday [September 29] and posted on the PMO Web site, Netanyahu reaffirmed Israel’s commitment to trying for a peace agreement.

Mitchell, meanwhile, said in his comments with Netanyahu that the Obama administration remains “totally committed” to comprehensive peace in the Middle East, despite the difficulties.

Posted on October 1, 2010

Source: BFP Israel Mosaic Radio, September 29, 2010

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