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Shammu
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« on: September 25, 2007, 12:13:36 AM »

November Peace Conference Israel & Middle East

Sunday, September 23, 2007

UNITED NATIONS - The United States will invite 12 Arab nations, including Syria, to President Bush's Mideast peace conference this fall, a senior U.S. official said.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was outlining the expected agenda for the meeting, including the invitation list, at the United Nations on Sunday to representatives of an international coalition trying to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the official said.

In addition to the Israelis and Palestinians, those to be invited include the diplomatic group known as the Quartet - the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia - and Arab League states studying a broader peace deal with Israel, the official said.

They are Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen.

They are members of a committee charged with following up an Arab League offer to recognize Israel in exchange for territory. Only two, Egypt and Jordan, have peace deals with Israel and some, notably Syria and Saudi Arabia, remain technically at war with the Jewish state.

Many Arab states have said they see no use for Bush's conference unless it has clear goals and a realistic chance of meeting them. The U.S. official said Rice believed she could allay those fears in her talks with the Quartet and the Arab League members on Sunday.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because Rice had not yet made her presentation to the Quartet, its new representative to the region, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Arab diplomats.

Before the Quartet session, Rice held separate meetings with Blair and the foreign ministers from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Asked after his meeting with Rice whether Saudi Arabia would attend the conference, the Saudi, Prince Saud al-Faisal, was noncommittal.

The Palestinians want the conference to produce an outline for a peace deal; the Israelis want more vague declarations.

Rice was in the Middle East last week and plans to return to the region soon to continue the planning for the meeting.

Rice's visit last week coincided with Israel's decision to declare the Gaza Strip, which the radical Hamas movement seized in June, as "hostile territory." That designation dealt a potential blow to efforts to bolster moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who now runs only the West Bank.

Meanwhile, Israel on Sunday approved the release of 90 Palestinian prisoners in a goodwill gesture to Abbas. Palestinian officials reacted with disappointment, calling for larger steps at a time when the power struggle with Hamas and peace process are at critical points.

The U.N. meeting will set the stage for separate talks Monday involving Bush, Abbas and Blair.

November Peace Conference Israel & Middle East
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« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2007, 12:15:07 AM »

Arab countries to be included in Middle East peace talks

Posted Mon Sep 24, 2007 3:15pm AEST
Updated Mon Sep 24, 2007 3:11pm AEST

The United States says key Arab countries will be invited to a major Middle East peace conference planned for November.

The invitations were flagged after a meeting in New York of the Middle East peace mediators, known as the Quartet.

Former British prime minister Tony Blair, in his new role as Middle East envoy, admits the goals for the region are ambitious.

"Our aim if you like is to get to the end of this year with real hope back in the political process," he said.

"With a sense of what this Palestinian state could look like in terms of capability and governance, and with things improving on the ground."

Arab countries to be included in Middle East peace talks
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« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2007, 12:16:36 AM »

This sounds too familiar from the Left Behind books. Shocked  The second in the series, Tribulation Force.
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« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2007, 03:52:24 PM »

Arab leaders: ME parley 'waste of time'
Khaled Abu Toameh
THE JERUSALEM POST
Sep. 25, 2007

Less than two months before the US-sponsored Middle East peace conference is expected to convene, most of the Arab countries have yet to confirm their participation.

As is frequently the case, the Arab world appears to be divided over the event. So far, it seems that besides the Palestinians, the Jordanians and the Egyptians are the only ones who have hinted that they may attend the parley, scheduled for mid-November.

Arab diplomats based in Cairo said in phone interviews with The Jerusalem Post Tuesday that the majority of the Arab leaders believe that the conference is just a "waste of time."

As one diplomat put it, "This conference is intended to make [US President George W.] Bush and [US Secretary of State Condoleezza] Rice look good in the eyes of the Arabs and Muslims. The two are just trying to show some kind of an achievement before they leave office. Why should we, the Arabs, provide them with an excuse by going to such a conference?"

Another diplomat said his government was not keen on attending the conference "because Israel has nothing to offer."

He explained: "If anyone thinks that Israel is going to offer the Arabs something new, he is totally mistaken. [Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert is facing many problems at home, and he's not in a position to make a serious offer."

According to the diplomats, the Arab leaders are afraid that failure to achieve tangible results at the conference would play into the hands of Arab extremists, who are opposed to any form of settlement with Israel.

"Our governments want assurances that the conference will be successful," they said. "We want to go the conference knowing that we will return with something that will satisfy the masses. Otherwise, the Arab masses will chase us away with their shoes."

The Arab countries' fears were echoed over the weekend by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who said the conference must have a clear agenda and result in feasible decisions.

Mubarak warned that failure could lead to an eruption of violence in the Middle East.

"If they do not have an agenda, I fear the result will be dangerous for everyone," he said.

Meanwhile, Arab foreign ministers who met in Cairo earlier this week to discuss the planned conference failed to reach a joint position. "The Arabs are very skeptical toward any role the US plays in the Israeli-Arab conflict," said a retired Jordanian diplomat in Amman. "They would prefer to see the United Nations, and not the US, sponsor such a conference. The US is regarded as Israel's strategic ally, and as such, the Americans can't play an impartial role."

Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa said as much at the Cairo meeting.

"We have suggested that the Quartet should take the initiative for an international peace conference, or it should be in the framework of the [UN] Security Council," he said, adding that the participants at the conference should focus on concrete issues, not content themselves with diplomatic niceties.

"It [the conference] should deal with the establishment of a Palestinian state and not serve as an occasion for salutes or greetings," he said.

In Damascus, meanwhile, the government-controlled Tishrin daily said that the US must revise its policy in the region if it wants the peace conference to succeed.

"What is the advantage of such a conference if those who have called for it are not [thinking] to reconsider their negative policies in the region and define its supposed target beforehand?" the paper wrote.

Washington's aim in holding the conference, the paper claimed, was to have Syria and Israel normalize relations while retaining the status quo. It said the Americans continued to view "our pending issues illogically and illegally and through an Israeli perspective."

Arab leaders: ME parley 'waste of time'
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« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2007, 12:30:46 AM »

Saudi FM calls ME summit 'encouraging'
Associated Press , THE JERUSALEM POST    Sep. 27, 2007

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister described as "encouraging" his talks with US officials about a proposed Mideast peace meeting, but stressed that success will be determined by commitments to tackle key final status issues, not whether Arab countries agree to attend.

The Bush administration, trying to revive long-stalled talks between Israel and the Palestinians, has proposed a November meeting to bring the two sides to the table, joined by other key players. It is eager to secure the participation of regional powerhouses like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which has yet to sign a peace deal with the Jewish state.

Arab nations, however, fear that without a commitment to discuss thorny topics such as the status of Jerusalem and right of return of Palestinians, the meeting will develop into a photo opportunity that could do more harm than good. The meeting's agenda has yet to be set.

"It is not Saudi Arabia that puts conditions, or Saudi Arabia that is going to negotiate," Saudi Prince Saud al-Faisal told reporters Wednesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. "Its presence there, or non-presence, is not the most significant issue."

Al-Faisal avoided committing his country's participation, and made clear that he is voicing the Arab position. But the veteran diplomat also sounded a decidedly optimistic tone following a meeting with Bush administration officials.

"We have been shown a canvas with some brushstrokes that has nice colors in them ... but we don't yet know if it is a portrait or a landscape that we are looking at," al-Faisal said in the round-table discussion held at a Manhattan hotel.

Based on the discussions with US officials, "there is a sense there is something new happening and this is encouraging" if it turns out to be true, he said.

Al-Faisal said that discussions indicated that "the intent is to look at the final status issue - the important issues, and not the peripheral issues. This is encouraging. This is what we have always asked for."

Al-Faisal's note of optimism was mirrored in the Middle East, where the leaders of Egypt and Jordan urged Palestinians to set aside their differences and work for peace, reiterating that the US-sponsored meeting was "an important opportunity for achieving tangible results," according to a statement released after the closed-door meeting in the Jordanian capital.

But they also repeated calls for "adequate preparations" and said the summit must tackle the key final status issues.

"We think there is hope that finally the right approach to peace is being undertaken," al-Faisal said.

He reiterated that the onus also lies on the Israelis to show their commitment to a comprehensive settlement and that they are willing to take confidence-building measures such as freezing settlement building in Palestinian areas.

"It will be curious for (Palestinian) President Abbas and the prime minister of Israel to be talking about peace and the return of Palestinian land while Israel continues to build more settlements," he said. "At least, a moratorium on the building of settlements will be a good signal to show serious intent."

Pressed about what it would take for the Saudis to attend, al-Faisal argued that it was the United States, not the kingdom, that carried sway with Israel, and described as "a little bit strange" the notion that Saudi participation would make Israel more willing to come.

"We have the experience of Madrid," he said, referring to the landmark 1991 peace conference which Saudi Arabia attended as observers. "We attended every international meeting that came out of the Madrid process ... and did that bring peace?"

"It changed nothing of the position of Israel whatsoever. On the contrary, it diverted from the important elements of peace, which is that Israel has to make peace" with the Palestinians, Lebanon and Syria, not Saudi Arabia.

While the US hopes that Saudi participation will put the kingdom on a path to recognizing Israel, al-Faisal said this possibility is already outlined in the Arab peace initiative, which offers peace in exchange for territory.

"Recognition comes, but comes after peace, not before peace," al-Faisal said.

Saudi FM calls ME summit 'encouraging'
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« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2007, 09:34:52 PM »

Abbas: Peace deal possible by May

Palestinian president says Israel, Palestinians could sign peace agreement within six months of international peace conference scheduled for November, which 'should define the principles settling the questions over the final status of the Palestinian territories'

AFP
Published:    09.28.07, 16:31 / Israel News

Israel and the Palestinians could sign a peace deal within six months of an international peace conference scheduled for November, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas told AFP on Friday.

"The meeting in November should define the principles settling the questions over the final status (of the Palestinian territories)," Abbas said in an interview in New York, where he is attending the UN General Assembly.

"Then we will begin negotiations on the details under a timeframe, which ought not to exceed six months, to reach a peace treaty," he added.

The leader of the Palestinian Authority, who has met with several foreign leaders during his stay in New York, said that the US-sponsored talks would open in Washington on November 15.

The leader of the Palestinian Authority, who has met with several key foreign leaders during his stay in New York, said that the US-sponsored talks would open in Washington on November 15.

"We have noted that the whole world is interested in this meeting and attaches great hopes to its success," he added.

Abbas said that Palestinian and Israeli negotiators would start to tackle preparations for the gathering in the coming days.

"We want to prepare a framework agreement defining clear principles and without equivocation that will serve as a basis for the settlement. Immediately after the meeting we will hold negotiations on the basis of this document."

Key stumbling blocks in previous talks between Israel and the Palestinians have included the borders of a future Palestinian state, the fate of the Jewish settlements, the status of Jerusalem and the question of Palestinian refugees.

"We, the Israelis and the Arabs, must make this meeting succeed," he said.

He said the members of the Middle East quartet, the permanent members of the UN Security Council, the follow up committee of the Arab League and certain countries from G8 and the non-aligned movement should take part in the talks.

The international quartet, which groups the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia, issued a "roadmap" for Israeli-Palestinian peace in 2003 originally envisioning the creation of a Palestinian state by 2005.

"We hope that Syria and Lebanon will also participate in the meeting," he added. The United States announced this week that it would invite Syria to the talks, but Damascus has expressed reservations about taking part.

Asked whether an agreement could be applied in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas took power by force in June, Abbas called on the Islamist movement to "place the interests of the Palestinian people above all other considerations."

"If the situation in the Gaza Strip returns to how it was (before Hamas seized power) we will be ready to talk," he said.

But a recent flare-up in violence in the Gaza Strip, declared by Israel as a "hostile entity" and where 13 Palestinians were killed this week by Israeli attacks in response to militant rocket fire, has complicated the task.

However, Abbas remained optimistic, saying: "Any attempt at sabotage is doomed to fail."

US President George W. Bush, who is organizing November's summit, met with Abbas on Monday, but made no reference to the gathering after the talks.

US courts Arabs by inviting Syria to peace talks

The United States' somewhat grudging offer to invite diplomatic adversary Syria to its Middle East peace conference is largely to provide political cover for other Arab states to take part, US officials said.

The Bush administration's most high-profile attempt to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace is expected to take place in November and the United States on Sunday signaled its willingness to invite Syria.

However, US officials suggested they did so with little enthusiasm because of their disagreements with Damascus over Iraq, Lebanon and its support for Hamas, the terrorist group and political party that rules the Gaza Strip.

The United States has long criticized Syrian influence in Lebanon, which US officials believe has continued despite the 2005 withdrawal of Syrian troops from its southern neighbor.

The United States also accuses Syria of fomenting violence in neighboring Iraq by allowing arms and fighters to cross its border and criticizes Damascus for supporting Hamas, the Palestinian militant group and political party that seized control of the Gaza Strip and has rejected the conference.

A senior US official, who spoke on condition that he not be named, said Washington had signaled its willingness to invite Syria chiefly out of a desire to get other Arab states to come. To exclude Syria would provide "an easy excuse" for other Arab states to stay away, he said.

"Others have to have them there or they would feel at risk that they didn't have the appropriate cover for their own participation," he added, saying the United States would not exclude Syria but "we don't cherish their participation."

"You balance the discomfort of their presence, because of these problems that we have with them, against the value of the presence of others," he said.

 

The United States disclosed its plan to include Syria indirectly, saying it would invite the members of an Arab League panel following up the group's 2002 peace initiative.

Not an easy decision

In addition to the Palestinian Authority, the group includes Syria, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt. Only the last two have full relations with Israel, while Syria and Lebanon are deeply estranged from the Jewish state.

The Arab League peace peace initiative calls on Israel to withdraw from all Arab land occupied in the 1967 Middle East war; to reach an "agreed, just" solution for Palestinian refugees; and to accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with east Jerusalem as its capital.

In return, Arab states would consider the conflict over and enter a peace treaty with Israel; achieve comprehensive peace for all the states of the region; and establish normal relations with Israel.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the Arab initiative would be a cornerstone of the conference, which the United States hopes will provide broader Arab backing for an eventual Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

"So we faced a choice: Did you try and exclude a member of this committee, causing untold difficulty for others in trying to figure out whether or not they could then come ... or did you just say the entire committee is invited?" Rice told Fox News in an interview on Monday. "We decided on the latter, not one of the easier decisions we've ever had to make."

Rice on Sunday stressed that countries that attend should renounce violence and support Israeli-Palestinian peace.

The official who asked not to be named said he did not expect Syria to change policy on Lebanon, Iraq or Hamas.

"If they did something different that would be great but I think we are assuming that they will continue to misbehave," he said.

He also said the United States reserved the right not to formally invite Syria but did not expect that to happen.

Israeli and Palestinian officials said asking Syria to the conference could test its willingness to break with Palestinian militants including Hamas, which seized the Gaza Strip in June and has rejected the U.S.-sponsored conference.

"That could occur. I'm not sanguine it will," the official said.

Abbas: Peace deal possible by May
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« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2007, 09:36:09 PM »

Quote
Abbas: Peace deal possible by May

Would anyone like to take a guess what else happens in May 2008??
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« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2007, 09:58:57 PM »

Would anyone like to take a guess what else happens in May 2008??
No, what happens?
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Rev 21:4  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
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« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2007, 10:05:56 PM »

No, what happens?

May 14 2008 is Israel's 60th birthday......... Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy
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« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2007, 08:44:09 PM »

Timeline of Israeli-Arab Peace Initiatives since 1977

Nov. 19, 1977:  In response to an invitation by Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat becomes the first Arab leader to travel to Israel and discuss the prospects of peace between the two nations. [1]

Sept. 17, 1978: The Camp David Accords: After 12 days of closed negotiations between the Israelis and Egyptians at Camp David, the two delegations sign the Camp David Accords. This is made up of two sections: the first creates a framework for autonomous rule by the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; the second deals with the future of peace between Israel and Egypt, calling for a peace treaty to be agreed upon within three months that will include a full Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai. [2]

March 26, 1979: Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty: Israel and Egypt sign a treaty which calls for both nations to demilitarize the Sinai Peninsula; for Israel to withdraw to the pre-1967 border, giving up military bases, settlements, roads and the Sinai oil fields; and for Egypt to 'normalize' relations with Israel. Other Arab countries attack the agreement, and Sadat is assassinated by Muslim extremists in 1981. Nevertheless, the treaty holds. [3]

May 14, 1989: Israel's Peace Initiative: Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin announce a plan for peace, based on the Camp David Accords, consisting of four basic parts: strengthening peace with Egypt as a regional cornerstone; promoting full peaceful relations with the Arab states; improving refugee conditions through international efforts; and establishing interim self-rule for Palestinians, including Palestinian elections, during a five-year period leading to a "permanent solution." [4]

Oct. 30-Nov.1, 1991: Madrid Peace Conference: The United States and USSR co-host a conference in Spain to set the framework to negotiate peace between Israel and Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinians, the first time direct and open peace talks are held between Israel and these four partners since 1949. The three-day conference sets in motion bilateral talks between Israel and each of its neighbors, as well as multilateral talks, about issues such as trade, resource development and conflict-prevention. Ultimately, however, no agreements develop from the Madrid process. [5]

Sept. 13, 1993: The Oslo Accords: After secret negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians in Oslo following the Madrid Peace Conference, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat shake hands and sign the "Declaration of Principles On Interim Self-Government Arrangements," better known as the Oslo Accords. The agreement calls for the transfer of power in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the Palestinians, beginning with an interim phase, leading to self-government and elections among the Palestinians, and culminating with a final-status agreement in which a permanent Palestinian state will sign an end-of-conflict agreement with Israel. The negotiations phase of the Accords include Rabin and Arafat exchanging letters in which Arafat pledges that the PLO recognizes Israel and commits itself to peace, while Rabin states that Israel recognizes the PLO as a legitimate party in the negotiations for peace. The "land for peace" strategy is heavily employed in these accords.  The Oslo Accords are carried out through phased meetings. [6]

Sept. 14, 1993: Israel-Jordan Common Agenda: After almost two years of Madrid Conference-inspired bilateral talks between Israel and Jordan, the two nations sign the Common Agenda which outlines the impending peace treaty between the two countries. [7]

May 4, 1994: Gaza-Jericho Agreement: In what is also known as the Cairo Agreement, Israel and the Palestinians outline Israel's initial withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and Jericho, as well as the creation of the Palestinian Authority. Although Israel is removing all of its forces from these areas (and later from Palestinian cities in the West Bank), Yasser Arafat's PA fails to meet the security conditions requiring it to crack down on terror groups such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. [8]

July 25, 1994: The Washington Declaration: King Hussein of Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin meet publicly in Washington, D.C. for the first time and take important steps toward implementing a peace treaty. The official state of war between the two countries is ended; each nation agrees to follow U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 to seek a total and lasting peace; and Israel acknowledges Jordan's special role in the oversight of Muslim holy places within Jerusalem. The two leaders also focus on future economic cooperation between Israel and Jordan. [9]

Sept. 28, 1995: Oslo II: The Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, known as "Oslo II" or "Taba," broadens and supersedes the 1994 Gaza-Jericho Agreement. This agreement deals with many aspects of the transition to Palestinian autonomy, including how Israel will leave Palestinian-populated areas in the West Bank and Gaza; the provision for Palestinians to elect the newly established Palestinian Council; and the division of the area into three sections based on which group retains responsibility for security divided into Areas A, B and C. Israel also releases Palestinian prisoners as a sign of goodwill. [10]

Oct. 26, 1994: Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty: After a series of meetings, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Jordanian Prime Minister Abdul-Salam Majali sign the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty. The basic provisions of the treaty delineate the international border; prohibit hostilities between the two nations; agree upon water usage from shared bodies of water; allow for freedom of movement between the two countries as well as access to religious sites within Jerusalem; and formally normalize all relations between Israel and Jordan. Diplomatic relations begin Nov. 27, 1994, and additional bilateral agreements are signed in the coming years in areas such as environment, trade and tourism. [11]

Jan. 17, 1997: Protocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron: The redeployment of Israeli soldiers from Hebron, the last remaining Palestinian city under Israeli control, is orchestrated in the Hebron Agreement. The protocol is signed by Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This marks the first time Israel's Likud party government has supported territorial withdrawal in the West Bank (also known as Judea and Samaria), until then widely considered a Labor party policy. [12]

Oct. 23, 1998: Wye River Memorandum: U.S. President Bill Clinton hosts Netanyahu and Arafat to negotiate the details of implementation of Oslo II of 1995. The memorandum emphasizes the need for the Palestinian side to uphold its security obligations. In return, for each phase the Palestinians successfully complete, they are to receive a specified percentage of land (through measures such as Israeli troop deployments). [13]

Sept. 4, 1999: Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum: This memorandum addresses the delay in implementation of the Oslo Accords created by Palestinian non-compliance with security obligations and the subsequent Israeli refusal to redeploy troops in the face of a growing terror threat from Area A (which is under full Palestinian administrative and security control). At this time, Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak meet to reaffirm their commitment to the Oslo Peace Process and set a new deadline, Sept. 13, 2000, for the completion of peace talks. [14]

July 11-25, 2000: Camp David Summit: To keep to the schedule set by the Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum, Arafat and Barak meet with President Clinton at Camp David. In an effort to achieve peace once and for all, Barak offers a series of concessions including Israeli withdrawal from the entire Gaza Strip and 95 percent of the West Bank; the subsequent creation of an independent Palestinian state in the aforementioned areas; the dismantlement of all Israeli settlements in those areas given to the Palestinians; land compensation outside of the West Bank for settlements to remain under Israeli sovereignty; and Palestinian rule over East Jerusalem and most of the Old City (excluding the Jewish Quarter) and 'religious sovereignty' on the Temple Mount. In exchange, the agreement called for Arafat to declare an end to the conflict and a prohibition of future claims on Israeli land. Arafat rejects the proposal and makes no counter-offer. The summit ends in failure, but a Tri-Lateral Statement is issued delineating the principles of future talks. [15]

Jan. 22-27, 2001: Taba Conference: In the midst of the Second Intifada, and as a follow-up to the Camp David Summit, the Israelis and Palestinians meet for a final attempt to come to an agreement on a Palestinian state. Israel offers 94 percent of the West Bank in addition to Israeli land, culminating in an offer of 97 percent of the total land area requested by the Palestinians. The 'right of return' is also considered. However, the conference ends again in a standstill, and an Israeli-Palestinian Joint Statement is issued asserting that the two parties have never before been so close to an agreement and expressing hope for the future. [16]

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« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2007, 08:47:17 PM »

March 28, 2002: The Arab Peace Initiative: Leaders of Arab nations come together at the Beirut Summit, where Saudi Arabia proposes a plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This plan is known as the Saudi Initiative, or the Arab Peace Initiative. The plan calls for Israel to withdraw completely to pre-1967 borders; supports the 'right of return' for all Palestinian refugees and their descendents; and the creation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. The Arab states in attendance pledge not to exercise military action to end the hostilities, and state that if Israel agrees to the aforementioned stipulations without modification, the Arab countries will in return consider the Arab-Israeli conflict to be over and normalize relations with Israel. Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres responds to the initiative on behalf of Israel, stating that Israel views the plan as encouraging, but that the agreement must be discussed directly with the Palestinians and that no accord can come to fruition unless terror activities are ceased, a condition not mentioned in the Arab Initiative. [17]

June 24, 2002: Bush's Vision for the Middle East: In a Rose Garden Speech, President George W. Bush outlines a new plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, with the possibility of a sovereign Palestinian state established in the near future. This policy calls for new Palestinian leadership (specifically acknowledging the corruption and unwillingness to stop terrorism that characterized Arafat's regime) and a reformulated democratic government for the Palestinians. The president also calls upon the Palestinians, as well as other Arab states supporting or tolerating terrorism, to cease those activities. The plan focuses mainly on the impediments to the peace process posed by the Palestinians since the Israelis had repeatedly offered and acted upon various concessions for peace, and on greater democratization throughout the Arab world. [18]

Apr. 30, 2003: Roadmap for Peace: Based upon President Bush's speech of June 24, 2002 and principles of the Oslo Accords, this plan is supervised by the Quartet: the United States, the European Union, the Russian Federation and the United Nations. It calls for serious alterations in the Palestinian government and results in the appointment of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. The Roadmap, which charts progress toward a final-status agreement through a series of benchmarks relating to security and political progress, is still the official blueprint towards peace between Israel and the Palestinians, with the Quartet meeting intermittently to track the progress of the plan. [19]

June 4, 2003: Peace Summit at Aqaba: Sharon and Abbas meet in Jordan to reaffirm their commitment to the Roadmap. Sharon promises withdrawal of Israeli troops from Palestinian areas, and Abbas pledges an end to the Intifada and the Palestinian culture of hate against Israel. The prospects of the summit are shattered Aug. 19, 2003, after Palestinian terrorists carry out a suicide bombing in Jerusalem. As a result, on Sept. 1, 2003 the Israeli Cabinet decides to wage war against Hamas and other terrorist groups, and halts the diplomatic process with the Palestinian Authority until it proves it is taking concrete measures to stop terrorism. [20]

Dec. 18, 2003: Fourth Herzliya Conference: At this conference, Prime Minister Sharon presents a plan for Israel's unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria in exchange for peace. The Israeli Cabinet approves the plan on June 6, 2004 and the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) approves it on Oct. 25, 2004. The disengagement plan, a major sacrifice for peace, calls for evacuating nearly 9,000 Israeli residents living in Gaza and the West Bank. Israel also proposes the disengagement plan in hopes of stimulating progress in the peace process on the Palestinian side. [21]

Feb. 8, 2005: Sharm el-Sheikh Summit I: Sharon meets with PA President Abbas, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and King Abdullah of Jordan to announce the implementation of Israel's disengagement from the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank. Abbas and Sharon agree upon a ceasefire. Sharon expresses his hope that the disengagement will foster a step forward in the Roadmap for Peace. [22]

Aug. 15-Aug. 23, 2005: Gaza and West Bank Disengagement: In an effort to relieve the security threats against Israelis living in Gaza and to try to put the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks back on track, Israel unilaterally pulls all of its citizens out of the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank. This dramatic move costs Israel approximately $2 billion, and includes the evacuation of all of the roughly 9,000 Israelis living in the affected areas in addition to exhuming and transferring all graves in Gaza to Israeli territory. On Sept. 12, 2005, the last Israel Defense Forces soldier departs the Gaza Strip, marking a historic step towards peace by Israel. [23]

April 1, 2007: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's acceptance of the Arab Peace Initiative: In response to the March 28, 2007 Arab League Summit at Riyadh, Olmert welcomes the Arab Initiative, revised since its conception in 2002, and invites the Arab heads of state to a meeting in Israel to further discuss the initiative and collaborate on improving it. [24]

June 25, 2007: Sharm el-Sheikh Summit II: Olmert meets in Sharm el-Sheikh with Abbas, Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah II. The leaders gather to discuss containment of Hamas in the Gaza Strip and to strengthen Abbas' Fatah party in the West Bank. As a goodwill gesture, Olmert announces the Israeli government's intention to release 250 Fatah prisoners who have 'no blood on their hands' and who pledge to renounce violence. [25]

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« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2007, 08:47:55 PM »


Footnotes..........

[1] "1977: Egyptian leader's Israel trip makes history," BBC, http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/november/19/newsid_2520000/2520467.stm, accessed July 17, 2007.
[2]  "Camp David Accords," Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace%20Process/Guide%20to%20the%20Peace%20Process/Camp%20David%20Accords, accessed July 17, 2007.
[3]  "What was the Israel-Egypt Peace Agreement of 1979?" Palestine Facts, http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_1967to1991_egypt_israel_peace.php, accessed July 17, 2007.
[4]  "What was Israel's May 1989 peace initiative?" Palestine Facts, http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_1967to1991_israel_peace_1989.php, accessed July 17, 2007.
[5] "The Madrid Framework," Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jan. 28, 1999, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace%20Process/Guide%20to%20the%20Peace%20Process/The%20Madrid%20Framework
[6]  "What were the details of the Oslo Accords?" Palestine Facts, http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_1991to_now_oslo_accords.php, accessed July 17, 2007.
[7]  "The Israel-Jordan Negotiations," Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, March 24, 2003, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace%20Process/Guide%20to%20the%20Peace%20Process/Israel-Jordan%20Negotiations
[8]  "What was the Gaza and Jericho Agreement of 1994?" Palestine Facts, http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_1991to_now_gaza_jericho.php, accessed July 17, 2007.
[9]  "The Israel-Jordan Negotiations," Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, March 24, 2003, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace%20Process/Guide%20to%20the%20Peace%20Process/Israel-Jordan%20Negotiations
[10]  "What was the 'Oslo II' Interim Agreement in 1995?" Palestine Facts, http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_1991to_now_oslo_accords_2.php, accessed July 17, 2007.
[11]  "Main Points of Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty," Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oct. 26, 1994, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace%20Process/Guide%20to%20the%20Peace%20Process/Main%20Points%20of%20Israel-Jordan%20Peace%20Treaty
[12]  "What was the Hebron Protocol and Agreement in 1997?" Palestine Facts, http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_1991to_now_hebron_agreement_1997.php, accessed July 17, 2007.
[13]  "The Wye River Memorandum," Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oct. 23, 1998, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace%20Process/Guide%20to%20the%20Peace%20Process/The%20Wye%20River%20Memorandum
[14]  "What was the Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum in 1999?" Palestine Facts, http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_1991to_now_sharmelsheikh_agreement_1999.php, accessed July 17, 2007.
[15]  "What took place at Camp David in 2000?" Palestine Facts, http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_1991to_now_campdavid_2000.php, accessed July 17, 2007.
[16]  "What happened at the Taba Conference in January 2001?" Palestine Facts, http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_1991to_now_alaqsa_taba.php, accessed July 17, 2007.
[17]  "Beirut Declaration on Saudi Peace Initiative - 28-Mar-2002," Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, March 28, 2002, http://www.israel-mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace+Process/Guide+to+the+Peace+Process/Beirut+Declaration+on+Saudi+Peace+Initiative+-+28-.htm
"Response of FM Peres to the decisions of the Arab Summit in Beirut - 28-Mar-2002," Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, March 28, 2002, http://www.israel-mfa.gov.il/mfa/about%20the%20ministry/mfa%20spokesman/2002/response%20of%20fm%20peres%20to%20the%20decisions%20of%20the%20arab
[18]  "What was the Middle East plan put forth by Pres. Bush in June 2002?" Palestine Facts, http://palestinefacts.org/pf_current_bushplan_2002.php, accessed July 17, 2007.
[19]  "What was the 2003 'Road Map' for peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs?" Palestine Facts, http://palestinefacts.org/pf_current_roadmap.php, accessed July 17, 2007.
 [20] "Israeli-Palestine Negotiations," Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sept. 7, 2003, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace%20Process/Guide%20to%20the%20Peace%20Process/Israel-Palestinian%20Negotiations
[21]  "Israel's Disengagement Plan: Renewing the Peace Process," Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, April 20, 2005, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace+Process/Guide+to+the+Peace+Process/Israels+Disengagement+Plan-+Renewing+the+Peace+Process+Apr+2005.htm
[22]  "Israel's Disengagement Plan: Renewing the Peace Process," Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, April 20,  2005, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace+Process/Guide+to+the+Peace+Process/Israels+Disengagement+Plan-+Renewing+the+Peace+Process+Apr+2005.htm
[23]  "Israeli-Palestine Negotiations," Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sept. 7, 2003, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace%20Process/Guide%20to%20the%20Peace%20Process/Israel-Palestinian%20Negotiations
"Israel's Disengagement Plan: Renewing the Peace Process," Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, April 20, 2005, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace+Process/Guide+to+the+Peace+Process/Israels+Disengagement+Plan-+Renewing+the+Peace+Process+Apr+2005.htm
[24] "Paying the Price for Peace," Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, July 28, 2005, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFAArchive/2000_2009/2005/Paying+the+Price+for+Peace+-+July+2005.htm.
[25]  "Israeli-Arab Negotiations: Background, Conflicts, and U.S. Policy," CRS Report for Congress, April 10, 2007, http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL33530.pdf
Knickmeyer, Ellen, Washington Post, June 26, 2007, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/25/AR2007062500283.html
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« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2007, 01:52:31 PM »

PA official: We won't come to conference without declaration

Ahmed Qureia, head of team appointed to negotiate deal with Israel, says Palestinians will not show up to international peace conference unless a declaration of principles is reached. 'If document contains vague statement it should not be composed at all', he says

Roee Nahmias
Published: 10.06.07, 14:37
Israel News

Ahmed Qureia, head of the Palestinian team to negotiate a peace agreement with Israel said on Saturday that there was no way Palestinians would attend the upcoming international peace conference unless a declaration of principles was formed.

In an interview to Saudi newspaper al-Watan, Qureia was asked what the Palestinians' stance would be if a declaration of principles was not reached before the November conference to be held in Annapolis.

"If that happens, the situation won't be good, and we will have to decide between two alternatives: To go or not to go (to the conference). The content of the document is the important thing. If the document contains vague statements it should not be composed at all", Qureia said.

The former PA prime minister added that a Palestinian state without Jerusalem or the Gaza Strip would not be considered a state to Palestinians.

"There is no point to a state without Gaza or Jerusalem. All talk about a state without Gaza or Jerusalem is empty talk and a waste of time. The state is Jerusalem, and is not complete without Gaza".

Saying that agreements could not be reached in a hurry, Qureia said the Palestinians estimated that an agreement could be reached within six months.

The former prime minister also implied that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was displaying a serious desire to reach an agreement.

"I think that as long as he has appointed a team for negotiations, it means that he wants an agreement", Qureia said.

PA official: We won't come to conference without declaration
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« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2007, 01:55:19 PM »

Abbas: Jerusalem key to peace

Palestinian president says Israeli, Palestinian teams to meet Monday to discuss principles for peace talks in November conference; says Jerusalem as Palestinian capital is key to peace deal. Former Prime Minister Haniyeh of Hamas urges Arab states not to attend conference
Associated Press

The Israeli and Palestinian teams asked to draft a joint statement ahead of a Mideast peace conference will hold their first meeting Monday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said.

The teams are to write down the principles that would guide future peace talks. The US-hosted conference is to take place in November or early December.

Abbas said he expected at least 36 states to attend, including 12 Arab states, three Muslim nations, the permanent members of the UN Security Council and the G-8.

"We hope that the number will increase to 40 states," Abbas was quoted as telling Palestinian dignitaries from Jerusalem on Friday evening, during a meal breaking the dawn-to-dusk fast of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The remarks were carried by the Palestinian news agency WAFA and confirmed by a participant. Abbas did not provide a list of countries expected to attend. The US has not released such a list, or set a date yet.

In Friday's meeting, Abbas told his guests that a solution for Jerusalem would be key to any peace deal. Israelis and Palestinians both claim the city as a capital.

"Jerusalem has always been in our hearts, and the hope that we have been looking at," Abbas was quoted as saying. "There is no independent Palestinian state without Jerusalem as its capital. It is a concern in the coming, difficult days."

Abbas has met six times since the spring with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, to explore the chances of resuming negotiations, which broke down in January 2001.

Haniyeh urges Arabs not to attend conference

In the meantime, head of the Hamas government in Gaza Ismail Hanyeh urged Arab nations not to attend the conference, saying in an interview published Saturday that he didn't expect the gathering to produce any results.

"We are going to appeal directly to the Arab brothers, especially the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and will ask them to reconsider any decision to participate in this conference," Haniyeh said.

"The Palestinians did not build much hope on the previous Oslo agreements," Haniyeh told the pro Hamas newspaper "Palestine," referring to the interim peace deals with Israel, reached in the mid-1990s.

"Therefore, we are not going to build any hopes on the results of this conference," he said.

Abbas: Jerusalem key to peace
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« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2007, 09:28:55 PM »

US Official Hints at Delay in Middle East Summit
 
by Hillel Fendel

(IsraelNN.com) Associated Press reports that a U.S. State Department official says that the Middle East conference, scheduled by U.S. President George W. Bush for late November in Annapolis, Md., might be delayed.

"This is going to take some time," the official said after Jerusalem meetings between Israeli leaders and visiting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.  "This is going to require a lot of hands-on American diplomacy. These are really tough issues."

Secretary Rice, currently visiting in Israel, met with several Israeli government ministers on Sunday, including Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Industry and Trade Minister Eli Yishai of the Shas party, and Finance Minister Roni Bar-On of Kadima.

Bar-On told Rice that it was still too early to get into the nitty-gritty of negotiations for a final Israel-PA peace deal, as the Palestinian Authority demands and the United States would like.

Minister Yishai was more to the point, saying that Jerusalem can simply not be put up for negotiation.  If his party in fact resigns from the government, this would almost certainly be followed by a similar walk-out by Yisrael Beiteinu, thus toppling the government and forcing new elections.

Yishai further said the PA is run by two heads - Hamas in Gaza, and Fatah in Judea and Samaria - and that the prospects of an agreement are very small.  In light of the dangers of increased terrorism in the event of a summit failure, Yishai said, the summit should deal not with political matters, but with economics.  He added that he would be happy to meet with his PA counterpart to advance the relevant issues.

Secretary Rice expressed a sense of historical impatience: "We've been putting these issues off for decades, and it's time that everything is put on the table and decided. The time has come for a Palestinian state."

Rice admitted that the PA is a weak negotiating partner, but said it must be strengthened.  Acknowledging Olmert's coalition difficulties, Rice said she would not force him to take steps that are "not acceptable to Israel."  She reportedly also told PA leader Mahmoud Abbas not to expect significant achievements during or before the summit.

The summit is scheduled for November 26, but formal invitations to the various countries have not yet been sent out.

Dispute Placed in Focus

The dispute between Israel and the PA was placed into clear focus on Sunday.  Olmert told his Cabinet that he is making efforts to arrive at an agreed-upon statement with the PA before the conference, "even though the existence of such a statement was never a condition for holding this conference."  Acting PA foreign minister Riad Malki, however, said straight out, "Without a document to resolve this conflict, we can't go to the conference next month."

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has been appointed to head Israel's team formulating the joint declaration.

Rice, whose convoy was held up for 15 minutes in an Arab neighborhood between Jerusalem and Ramallah on Monday morning while a suspiciously parked car was investigated, is here for a five-day visit.  She will be meeting with Israeli, Egyptian, Jordanian and PA officials.

Fatah and Hamas
Meanwhile, Abbas and his Fatah faction are trying to both renew contacts with Hamas,  and to keep these efforts secret.  Abbas has denied a report in the London-based Al Hayat newspaper stating that he plans to resume talks with Hamas following the summit.  The two terrorist organizations have been holding secret talks regarding a possible renewal of official contacts between them.  Israel has made great efforts to strengthen Abbas, with the condition that he not renew talks with Hamas.

US Official Hints at Delay in Middle East Summit
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