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Shammu
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« Reply #105 on: November 29, 2007, 02:44:50 PM »

Hamas said calling on UN to rescind 1947 partition plan
By Haaretz Service

To mark sixty years since the United Nations plan for the partition of Palestine, Palestinian militant Islamic movement Hamas called Thursday for the UN to rescind the decision which led to the establishment of the State Israel, Army Radio reported.

"It is not shameful to correct a mistake. Palestine is Arab-Islamic land from the river to the sea, including Jerusalem, and Jews have no place there," the radio quoted a Hamas statement as saying.

Meanwhile, Minister of Strategic Affairs MK Avigdor Lieberman on Thursday called an exchange of territories the only viable solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

"Only a territory exchange can prevent a situation where we have a half a state for one people and a half a state for another. It will allow us to attain a two state solution," the minister and head of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party said.

Lieberman has repeatedly championed land swaps as a solution to the conflict and brought up the issue during a meeting with former British prime minister Tony Blair in Jerusalem in October.

Lieberman told Blair, now serving as the Middle East envoy for the Quartet of Mideast peace brokers, that any solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "must include Israel's Arab citizens as well, when the basis for an agreement should be a land swap and a population transfer."

Lieberman also said that "the international community has to make a concerted effort to resolve the issues of Israel's security and the Palestinian economy.

Hamas said calling on UN to rescind 1947 partition plan
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« Reply #106 on: November 29, 2007, 03:05:32 PM »

God promised many things to the people of Israel.

First, He promised regeneration. This would involve the giving of a new heart (a new inner control center where the issues and direction of life are determined) and the new nature (a new favorable disposition toward God consisting of the law of God in the heart)(Jeremiah 31:33; 32:39-40; Ezekiel 36:26).

Second, God promised forgiveness of sin (Jeremiah 31:34; Ezekiel 36:25).

Third, He pledged the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 36:27).

Fourth, He guaranteed a universal knowledge of Jehovah among the people of Israel (Jeremiah 31:34). The context of this fourth promise indicated that God was referring to a personal experiential knowledge of Himself (the kind of knowledge which comes through a genuine salvation experience), not just a head knowledge of His existence!!

Fifth, God promised that Israel would obey Him and have a right attitude toward Him forever (Jeremiah 32:39-40; Ezekiel 36:27; 37:23-24).

Sixth, God promised many national blessings to the people of Israel. He pledged that His Spirit and words would never depart from them (Isaiah 59:21), that the nation would have a great reputation because of God’s special blessing (Isaiah 61:8-9), that Israel would have a unique relationship with Him as His special people (Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 36:28), that God would do them good (Jeremiah 32:40-42), that wild beasts would be eliminated from their land (Ezekiel 34:25, 28), that Israel would enjoy complete security in its land (Ezekiel 34:25-28), that the nation would receive no more threats and insults from other nations (Ezekiel 34:28-29), that great abundance of food would eliminate famine (Ezekiel 34:27, 29; 36:29-30), that Israel’s land would be so luxurious that it would have the reputation of being like the Garden of Eden (Ezekiel 34:29; 36:34-35), that rainfall would be controlled perfectly (Ezekiel 34:26), that Israel’s cities would be rebuilt and inhabited (Ezekiel 36:33), that the nation would enjoy a population explosion (Ezekiel 36:37-38; 37:26), that the nation would be completely unified (Ezekiel 37:21-22), that the people of Israel would live in their own land forever (Ezekiel 37:25), that once again God would have His sanctuary in Israel and would dwell in the midst of the nation forever (Ezekiel 37:26- 28), and that God would never turn away from the people of Israel (Jeremiah 32:40).

God presented the promises of the New Covenant, instead of stating conditions for Israel, He continually said, “I will” (Jeremiah 31:31-34; 32:37-42; Ezekiel 36:24-37). This meant that the fulfillment of the promises of the New Covenant would be dependent totally upon God’s faithfulness to His word. God emphasized this fact when He said, “I, the LORD, have spoken it, and I will do it” (Ezekiel 36:36).

Israel is, where she is because of time. If everyone else thinks tribulation will be bad for them, wait till they see whats in store for Israel.

Now I know there will be those who will disagree with me, and thats fine. Biblical prophecy is different for each person, that studies the Bible's prophecy.
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« Reply #107 on: November 29, 2007, 06:35:03 PM »

Stalemate in Annapolis

Representatives of 50 nations and hundreds of reporters from around the world converged on the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, this Tuesday to attend the much-hyped, one-day summit on the Middle East. After exhaustive security checks, the reporters were ushered into the academy’s basketball stadium. From that uninviting vantage point -- only an elite few reporters were allowed anywhere near the participating leaders -- the press corps watched as President Bush, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas exchanged platitudes of peace.

Although the summit was billed as the start of a new negotiation process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, it felt dated from the onset. For instance, President Bush invoked the “road map” of April 30, 2003, specifically mentioning that precise date, as the guiding spirit of the negotiations. But on May 25, 2003, Israel added 14 reservations to the road map, almost all of which demanded that the Palestinian Authority take full responsibility to disarm all terror groups before proceeding with negotiations. By adverting to the April 30 proposal, Bush seemed to be ignoring the Israeli government’s demands and asking that Israel negotiate with the Palestinians, come what may.

To clarify whether this was indeed the case, this reporter asked State Department officials whether Abbas would be required to disarm and disband the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the terrorist organization that remains an integral part of the Fatah. The Al Aqsa Brigades remain on the US State Department list of terrorist organizations and continue to commit terrorism against Israel. Nonetheless, officials would not answer the question. In a similar vein, State Department officials were asked about their position concerning the Palestinian curriculum, which the Israel Ministry of Defense had concluded is rife with anti-Semitic incitement and in which Israel is erased from the map, thus denying any connection of Jews or Judaism to the land of Israel. After looking into the matter, the officials refused to take a stand on the issue.

Indeed, about the only thing that American officials would take a stand on is that negotiations must proceed apace -- even if the Palestinian side has failed to do the one thing asked of it by curbing anti-Israel terrorism. Thus President Bush set the tone for this week’s negotiations by saying that Abbas and Olmert would conduct biweekly negotiations beginning on December 12. In the case of disputes, President Bush declared, the US would be the “judge” as to whom was correct. But considering that U.S. officials have pointedly declined to offer an opinion on Palestinian terrorism this week, this was not exactly reassuring.

The Palestinian side has been more forthcoming. On November 23, the Palestinian Authority’s official radio outlet, “Voice of Palestine” radio, launched a preemptive attack on Israel ahead of this week’s summit. A cleric chosen by the PA declared that one of the main “obstacles in the negotiations prior to the conference” was Israel’s request to be recognized as a Jewish state. “If this request is granted and Israel is recognized as a Jewish state there will be no withdrawal to 1967 boarders, no partition of Jerusalem and no deportation of the Israeli settlers.” In short, Palestinians could not accept Israel because to do would be to accept Israel’s right to exist. For the Palestinian leadership, such recognition -- the first step to any peace process -- is unthinkable.

Prime Minister Olmert, to his credit, stated before the summit that he would stand by the principle that Israel is a Jewish state. In response to the PA’s extremist rhetoric, he called for two states, for two peoples. But nothing at this week’s summit suggested that this vision is any closer to becoming a reality.
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« Reply #108 on: November 29, 2007, 09:59:01 PM »

Evangelical Leaders Reiterate Call for Two-State Solution for Israel and Palestine
Over 80 educators and ministry heads affirm efforts to negotiate lasting peace, and warn of consequences of failure.
David Neff | posted 11/29/2007 08:55PM

This week the Bush State Department is devoting its full diplomatic efforts toward bringing a two-state resolution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Over the past few months, they have put on a full-court press to gather a broad representation of Arab world leaders to join Israeli and Palestinian negotiators for a historic meeting in Annapolis, Maryland. Now, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have agreed to a program of sustained and focused negotiations throughout 2008.

With these cautious but hopeful beginnings, over 80 evangelical leaders have signed a statement indicating their belief "that the way forward is for the Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate a fair, two-state solution."

These leaders—including Christian college and seminary presidents, denominational heads, and other ministry leaders—pledge their "ongoing support for the security of Israel," and state that "unless the situation between Israel and Palestine improves quickly, the consequences will be devastating" for Israel. Palestinians with little economic opportunity "are increasingly sympathetic to radical solutions."

An Evangelical Statement on Israel/Palestine
As evangelical Christians committed to the full authority of the Scriptures, we feel compelled to make a statement together at this historic moment in the life of the Holy Land.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is near a momentous turning point. The strife has continued—sometimes simmering, sometimes exploding in terrible conflict—for decades.

In the context of our ongoing support for the security of Israel, we believe that unless the situation between Israel and Palestine improves quickly, the consequences will be devastating. Palestinians—especially the youth who have no economic opportunity—are increasingly sympathetic to radical solutions and terrorism. As a result, the threat to Israel's security is now greater.

Likewise, the threat to America's national security is greater. Because so many of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims see America through the prism of Israel-Palestine, the longer the current situation continues, the more likely it is that anti-American attitudes, policies, and terrorist activities will increase dramatically among Muslims worldwide.

As evangelical Christians, we believe our faith compels us to speak a word together at this crucial moment.

The Bible clearly teaches that God longs for justice and peace for all people. We believe that the principles about justice taught so powerfully by the Hebrew prophets apply to all nations, including the United States, Israel, and the Palestinians. Therefore we are compelled to work for a fair, negotiated solution for both Israelis and Palestinians. We resolve to work diligently for a secure, enduring peace and a flourishing economy for the democratic State of Israel. We also resolve to work for a viable permanent, democratic Palestinian State with a flourishing economy that offers economic opportunity to all its people. We believe that the way forward is for the Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate a fair, two-state solution.

We are encouraged that the Israeli and Palestinian governments have officially endorsed a two-state solution and that polls demonstrate that solid majorities in both Israel and Palestine embrace this path.

We call on all evangelicals, all Christians, and everyone of good will to join us to work and pray faithfully in the coming months for a just, lasting two-state solution in the Holy Land. We call on all involved governments to work diligently toward this goal. And we covenant to pray for the leaders of all the nations engaged in this effort, hoping for them the blessing of our Lord, who said, "Blessed are the peacemakers."

As we work and pray, we are strengthened by the truth that Christ will return some day to complete his victory over sin and injustice, and we are empowered by the knowledge that until He comes again, He summons us to support the things that promote peace and justice for everyone in the Holy Land.

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« Reply #109 on: November 29, 2007, 10:00:48 PM »

Signatories of An Evangelical Statement on Israel/Palestine

Thomas Armiger, General Superintendent
The Wesleyan Church

Gayle D. Beebe, President
Westmont College

David Black, President
Eastern University

Marilyn Borst, Director of Global Ministry
Peachtree Presbyterian Church

Ed Boschman, Executive Director
U.S. Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches

David C. Brown, Chair
Evangelical Child & Family Agency

George K. Brushaber, President
Bethel University

Gary M. Burge, Professor of New Testament
Wheaton College

Tony Campolo, President/Founder
Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education

R. Judson Carlberg, President
Gordon College

Joseph Castleberry, President
Northwest University

Paul A. Cedar, Chairman
Mission America Coalition

Thomas A. Curry, Senior Minister
Round Lake Community Church

Craig C. Darling, U.S. Director
India Rural Evangelical Fellowship

Murray Dempster, President
Vanguard University

G. Blair Dowden, President
Huntington University

Robert P. Dugan, Jr., Retired
National Association of Evangelicals

Merrill Ewert, President
Fresno Pacific University

Leighton Ford, President
Leighton Ford Ministries

Arthur Evans Gay, Minister-at-Large
Evangelical Initiatives International

Jules Glanzer, President Elect
Tabor College

Vernon Grounds, Chancellor
Denver Seminary

Ronald Habegger, President
Fellowship of Evangelical Churches

Jack Haberer, Editor
The Presbyterian Outlook

Mike Hagan, President
Sioux Falls Seminary

Stephen A. Hayner, Professor
Columbia Theological Seminary

Dennis Hollinger, President
Evangelical Theological Seminary

Jim Holm, President
Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary

John Hubers, Former Director of Reformed Church Mission Program,
Middle East and South Asia
Reformed Church in America

John A. Huffman, Jr., Pastor
St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach
Board Chair, Christianity Today International

Ken Hunn, Executive Director
The Brethren Church

Joel Hunter, Senior Pastor
Northland Church

John K. Jenkins, Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church of Glenarden

Bruce W. Jones
National Association of Evangelicals

J. Ellsworth Kalas, President
Asbury Theological Seminary

John F. Kim, Interim President
Northern Seminary

Peter Kuzmic, President
Evangelical Theological Seminary (Osijek, Croatia)

Duane Litfin, President
Wheaton College

Jo Anne Lyon, CEO
World Hope International

V. James Mannoia, President
Greensville College

Molly T. Marshall, President
Central Baptist Theological Seminary

Kevin T. McBride, Senior Pastor
Raymond Baptist Church

Larry J. McKinney, President
Simpson University

Gregory A. Monaco, Associate Field Director,
Youth for Christ/USA

Royce L. Money, President
Abilene Christian University

Richard Mouw, President
Fuller Theological Seminary

Shirley A. Mullen, President
Houghton College

Mike O'Neal, President
Oklahoma Christian University

David Neff, Editor-in-Chief
Christianity Today

Glenn R. Palmberg, President
Evangelical Covenant Church

Earl F. Palmer, Minister
University Presbyterian Church

Linda Pampeyan, Consultant
Leadership Renewal Center

Ted W. Pampeyan, Director
Leadership Renewal Center

David L. Parkyn, President
North Park University

Roger Parrot, President
Belhaven College

Jerry Pence, General Superintendent
The Wesleyan Church

Rita Rihani, Professor of Arabic
North Park University

Bob Roberts, Pastor
Northwood Church

Bill Robinson, President
Whitworth University

Haddon W. Robinson, President
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Leonard Rodgers, Executive Director
Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding

Andrew Ryskamp, Director
Christian Reformed World Relief Committee

Michael G. Scales, President
Nyack College/ATS

Chris Seiple, President
Institute for Global Engagement

Robert Seiple, Former Ambassador-at-Large
for International Religious Freedom

Ronald J. Sider, President
Evangelicals for Social Action

James Skillen, President
Center for Public Justice

Wallace Smith, President
Palmer Theological Seminary

Glen H. Stassen, Lewis Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics
Fuller Theological Seminary

Gary W. Streit, President
Malone College

Joseph Tkach, President
Worldwide Church of God

Paul Vicalvi, Chaplains Commission Executive Director
National Association of Evangelicals

Harold Vogelaar, Professor Emeritus
Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago

Berten Waggoner, National Director
Vineyard USA

Don Wagner, Professor
North Park University

John Wagner, Pastor
Andover Congregational Church

Jon R. Wallace, President
Azusa Pacific University

Jim Wallis, Editor
Sojourners

Bob Wenz
Renewing Total Worship Ministries

Luder G. Whitlock, Executive Director
The Trinity Forum

John P. Williams, Jr., Regional Director
Evangelical Friends International - North America

Craig Williford, President
Denver Seminary

Earl L. Wilson, General Superintendent
The Wesleyan Church

Larry E. Yonker, Vice-President
The Elevation Group

Evangelical Leaders Reiterate Call for Two-State Solution for Israel and Palestine
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« Reply #110 on: November 29, 2007, 10:10:41 PM »

Apparently those above don't believe the whole Bible.

I wonder when these evangelical leaders are going to start saying that we all pray to the same God. If they can buy into this independent Pal state, then what else could they start believing? I pray for our Christian leadership that their eyes be opened and they wake up with regards to God's infallible word.

Regardless of your belief of what the 7 Churches stand for in Revelations 2&3 and just standing back and looking which of the seven churches in do you think these churches would be categorized as?

1. The Church in Ephesus - They left their first Love (Rev 2:4)
2. We can skip the Church in Smyrna, Persecuted Church
3. The Church in Pergamos They who hold back the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the Children of Israel (Rev 2:14)
4. The Church in Thyatira They allow the prophetess Jezebel to teach and seduce My servants (Rev 2:20-21)
5. The Church in Sardis Their works were not perfect before God (Rev 3:2)
6. The Church in Philadelphia The faithful church (Take a look at what will happen to those who deny Israel Rev 3:9)
7. The Church in Laodiceans They are neither hot or cold (Rev 3:15) Look how they have become rich and wealthy and in need of nothing (Rev 3:17)

Matthew 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
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« Reply #111 on: November 29, 2007, 10:12:31 PM »

Russia to host next Middle East peace conference
Middle East Star
Wednesday 28th November, 2007 
(IANS)

Moscow, Nov 28 (RIA Novosti) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has announced that the next Middle East peace conference would be hosted by Moscow.

Following Tuesday's talks in Annapolis, Maryland, attended by 44 nations, US President George W. Bush is set to meet the Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the White House Wednesday.

At the end of the one-day talks, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued a joint statement and committed themselves to negotiating a peace treaty by the end of next year.

The Russian minister told journalists on his way back home from Annapolis, 'I would like to note the efforts of the American organizers of this meeting toward finding the means to ensure that such a document was produced.'

He said the conference participants had welcomed Russia's offer to host the next Middle East peace meet in Moscow.

'All the participants welcomed our readiness to hold the next meeting in Moscow. Its date and agenda have yet to be coordinated, and will take into account progress at talks between the Palestinians and Israelis,' He said.

In their joint statement, Olmert and Abbas agreed to 'immediately launch good-faith bilateral negotiations in order to conclude a peace treaty resolving all outstanding issues, including all core issues without exception, as specified in previous agreements.'

Lavrov said the document requires the parties to start immediate negotiations, which will be based on all previously adopted documents, including UN Security Council resolutions and 'roadmap' deals to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and was excluded from the talks, dismissed the conference as a 'waste of time', and said it would ignore any agreements reached there.

Thousands of miles away from the conference, thousands of protesters gathered in the Gaza Strip. In Gaza City's central square, the crowd chanted slogans: 'Down with the devils who have gathered in America,' 'Palestine and Jerusalem are not for sale,' 'We will never recognize Israel,' and 'Our refugees must return home.'

At the Annapolis talks, Abbas reiterated Palestinian demands that Israel remove its settlements in the West Bank and release thousands of Palestinian prisoners.

Arab states have pledged to improve relations with Israel when an independent Palestinian state is formed, with its capital in East Jerusalem, and when Palestinian refugees are brought home.

The Arabs are also seeking an Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian lands occupied in the 1967 Israel-Arab War, as well as from Syria's Golan Heights.

Iran, which was not invited to the Annapolis talks, added an edge to the proceedings by announcing Tuesday that it had developed a ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 km. The missile's range would allow it to reach Israel, as well as US military bases in the Middle East.

Russia to host next Middle East peace conference
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« Reply #112 on: November 29, 2007, 10:18:04 PM »

Russian mediator seeks Israel-Syria deal
Thu Nov 29, 2007 8:16am EST

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A senior Russian envoy has been trying to broker a deal between Israel and Syria on the future of the Golan Heights, an Israeli newspaper said on Thursday.

The Maariv daily said Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Sultanov has been working on a plan which would give Syria sovereignty of the Golan Heights but allow Israel to take a long-term lease of the strategic plateau it captured during the 1967 Middle East war.

An official traveling with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert from the United States where he attended the Annapolis peace conference together with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, denied the report.

The report said Sultanov had recently visited Damascus twice for talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and that he had carried messages to Olmert and Defence Minister Ehud Barak.

It said Olmert's trip at short notice to Moscow for a meeting with Putin earlier this month was connected to Sultanov's talks.

Israel on Wednesday played down prospects of restarting peace talks with Syria despite Damascus's participation in a U.S.-sponsored Middle East conference at Annapolis.

U.S. President George W. Bush has also shown little enthusiasm for an Israeli-Syrian peace track, casting doubt on the chances of a breakthrough soon.

Russian mediator seeks Israel-Syria deal
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« Reply #113 on: December 01, 2007, 01:57:02 PM »

Here is an example of the so called "Peace Conference."



Israel                                    Arab nations
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« Reply #114 on: December 01, 2007, 10:21:50 PM »

The Maariv daily said Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Sultanov has been working on a plan which would give Syria sovereignty of the Golan Heights but allow Israel to take a long-term lease of the strategic plateau it captured during the 1967 Middle East war.


It said Olmert's trip at short notice to Moscow for a meeting with Putin earlier this month was connected to Sultanov's talks.


And if you believe that; I've got some ocean front property in Arizona and a bridge I'd like to sell ya.
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« Reply #115 on: December 01, 2007, 11:08:38 PM »

And if you believe that; I've got some ocean front property in Arizona and a bridge I'd like to sell ya.

Didn't you know that Arizona is supposed to become beach front property?

 Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy
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« Reply #116 on: December 15, 2007, 11:26:53 PM »

Israeli-Palestinian talks go nowhere


December 13, 2007

By Steven Gutkin - JERUSALEM (AP) — A Palestinian rocket barrage, an Israeli army incursion in Gaza and a fresh land dispute in Jerusalem marred the first Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in seven years yesterday.

Instead of building on the momentum of last month's high-profile peace conference in the United States, the two sides traded barbs and accusations — and wrapped up a 90-minute session without any achievements.

An Israeli official described the atmosphere as "tense," and a Palestinian official reported "not an inch" of progress.

Israel had hoped to use the meeting to establish a framework for discussions to further both sides' stated goal of signing a peace deal by the end of next year. The fact that the session instead turned into a heated airing of mutual grievances showed just how far Israelis and Palestinians have to go before ending their six-decade-old conflict.

It was the first formal negotiating session since Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas restarted Middle East peace talks last month at a conference in Annapolis. The last round of talks broke down in January 2001, three months after Palestinian-Israeli violence erupted.

At the heart of yesterday's tension was an Israeli announcement last week that it would build 307 more homes in the Har Homa neighborhood of Jerusalem, in an area the Palestinians claim as their future capital. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said his delegation expressed "outrage."

"We are coming to negotiate over Jerusalem and borders, and the dictation and facts on the ground continue," he said. "If you want to restore the credibility of the peace process, the Israeli government must revoke this order."

Also tarnishing the talks was fresh violence between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, where the Islamist Hamas seized power six months ago. Yesterday, Palestinian militants fired more than 20 homemade rockets into Israel, causing damage to structures and slightly wounding one woman. Hours earlier, Israeli forces ended an incursion into the coastal strip that killed six militants and left a wide swath of damage.

Initially scheduled to kick off with a ceremony at Jerusalem's ornate King David hotel, yesterday's talks were held secretly at another hotel in the city. Negotiators sped away from the meeting without commenting to reporters, who discovered the location after the talks had begun.

Coffee and tea were served, but neither side described any warmth among the participants. The Palestinians complained about Har Homa and the Gaza incursion, and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni protested the Gaza rockets and the involvement of Palestinian policemen in the Dec. 3 killing of an Israeli settler in the West Bank.

The two sides agreed to continue talking in the coming weeks, and Israel reiterated its commitment to the negotiations.

Israeli-Palestinian talks go nowhere
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« Reply #117 on: December 16, 2007, 06:36:57 PM »

Planned Madrid peace gathering collapses before even taking off
December 15, 2007 Tevet 6, 5768
By Yoav Stern

MADRID - An investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars, loads of time and countless attempts at intensive Spanish-brokered talks between Israelis and Palestinians went down the drain this past weekend, when a peace gathering that was supposed to be held here collapsed before it could even get started. Spanish organizers grew tearful as they realized there was no possibility of bridging gaps between the various groups and of reaching even minimal discussion among the hawks - mostly members of the leftist camp in their countries.

The Forum for a Just Peace in the Middle East was supposed to convene over the weekend in a town near Madrid called Alcorcon, with the backing of leftist parties and labor organizations. It was meant to be Spain's contribution to promoting talks between the sides.

Spain, officials emphasize, is very interested in being involved in advancing the peace process. Its foreign minister, Miguel Moratinos, who is handling the matter personally, said this week: "We managed to send men to the moon, but not to resolve this conflict. We must move forward." But it looks like the failure of this forum will be laid at his door. The background to this failure involves a struggle between the government and leftist organizations over responsibility for holding the meeting.

Contrary to the usual Mideast scenario, this time the camps did not divide along national lines. There were Israeli Jews and Palestinians in both, but ones who hold completely different positions. The conflict between the camps revolves around the question of a worthy end to the conflict: a two-state solution or one state for two peoples.

In Israeli political terms, representatives of the Zionist center and left faced off against radical leftist activists, who were horrified at the prospect of having to talk to those they view as "representatives of the occupation." Yael Lerer, founder of Andalus Publishing and an activist in the Balad party, who was invited to address the forum, told Haaretz that she views the people from Peace Now and the Labor Party as another arm of the occupation, and therefore unacceptable for dialog.

"It is a huge problem when the heads of the organization do reserve duty in the territories and belong to [Labor Party leader Ehud] Barak's camp and then come to Europe and present themselves as belonging to the peace camp. This is not a camp that wants a just and genuine peace," she said.

Delegates from the Zionist left said yesterday that they do not rule out talking with anyone on the other side.

The Palestinian side also divided into two groups: those who boycotted the Israeli presence at the forum and were busy throughout with internal discussions; and those in the mainstream, who are willing to talk to delegates from Zionist parties to advance the establishment of a Palestinian state.

In lieu of the forum schedule, the latter went on tours of Madrid along with their Israeli colleagues.

Israeli Arabs played a key role in the Palestinian camp, spearheading opposition to the official Israeli and Spanish involvement. Amir Mahoul, general secretary of Ittijah, the umbrella organization of Arab civil groups in Israel, led the fight against turning the forum into an establishment affair. He called for an end to the influence of Israel and the Zionist lobby in Europe and the world.

Abd Anabtawi, spokesman for the Israeli Arabs' Higher Monitoring Committee, accused Israel's Foreign Ministry of sabotaging the event. According to Anabtawi, if the various United Nations resolutions do not constitute the basis for peace, there will be only one solution: establishing a secular democratic state in all of Palestine. He rejected the claim that making peace requires negotiating with centrists in Israeli and Palestinian societies.

Acknowledging that this forum lacked any force to impact the situation in the Middle East, Anabtawi blamed Israel for the lost chance to enlist more European support for the Palestinians. "Israel must not force its position on us and on civil society in Spain. The forum was liquidated, murdered in fact, by Israel," he said.

Planned Madrid peace gathering collapses before even taking off
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« Reply #118 on: December 16, 2007, 06:41:24 PM »

Quote
MADRID - An investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars, loads of time and countless attempts at intensive Spanish-brokered talks between Israelis and Palestinians went down the drain this past weekend, when a peace gathering that was supposed to be held here collapsed before it could even get started. Spanish organizers grew tearful as they realized there was no possibility of bridging gaps between the various groups and of reaching even minimal discussion among the hawks - mostly members of the leftist camp in their countries.

Of course, Israel gets blamed as always. Cry
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« Reply #119 on: December 29, 2007, 08:05:05 PM »

Senator sees 'real opportunity' for resuming Syria-Israel talks
By The Associated Press
29/12/2007

There is a real opportunity for Syria and Israel to resume peace talks with help from the United States, an influential U.S. lawmaker said Saturday.

Senator Arlen Specter spoke in Damascus shortly after arriving for a two-day visit with Rep. Patrick Kennedy, a member of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee.

"I think there is a very important moment in the Middle East and there is a real opportunity if the parties are ready to move," Specter told The Associated Press. "It's up to the parties. It's up to Syria and Israel, but the United States, I think, is in the position to be helpful."

Specter, a Republican from Pennsylvania, was scheduled to meet Syrian President Bashar Assad and Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem on Sunday to discuss the stalled Middle East peace process and strained U.S.-Syrian relations.

Specter, a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, declined to confirm reports that he would convey a message to Assad from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on resuming peace talks between the two countries. "I think that is something I should talk to President Assad about before I talk to the media," he said.

Specter, who met Olmert Wednesday, told reporters in Jerusalem that he would encourage Assad to launch peace talks with Israel.

He said he is convinced both countries want to restart a dialogue.

"Prime Minister Olmert told us that he's interested, that he's looking for a signal from Syria," he said.

In 2000, formal U.S.-sponsored Israel-Syria talks neared agreement but broke down over final border and peace arrangements.

Specter said Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad had told him on the sidelines of last month's Mideast peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland, that Syria is interested in the negotiations.

Syria attended the U.S.-brokered Mideast conference after receiving assurances that the issue of the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria after the 1967 Six Day War would be on the agenda.

Relations between Syria and the U.S. appeared to warm briefly following Syria's attendance at the Annapolis conference, which was widely seen as an attempt to gain favor with Washington.

But both sides have since lashed out at one another, each accusing the other of meddling in Lebanon, where the Western-backed government is locked in a political standoff with the pro-Syrian opposition.

The U.S. disapproves of Syrian meddling in Lebanon, Damascus' support for anti-Israel militant groups and its alliance with Iran.

Last week, U.S. President George W. Bush rejected dialogue with the Syrian leader, saying his patience ran out on President Assad a long time ago.

Kennedy, a Rhode Island Democrat, said he looked forward to speaking with Assad about promoting peace and stability with Syria's neighbor, saying he wants to see "free and fair elections in Lebanon ... full sovereignty for Lebanon."

The election of a new Lebanese president has been held up by continued political wrangling between the Syrian-backed opposition and the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority bloc. The presidency was left vacant after pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud's term ended on November 23, with no successor being elected.

Senator sees 'real opportunity' for resuming Syria-Israel talks
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