Fallout continues on Thursday, days after serial Israeli government announcements of settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Continue reading Fallout continues in reaction to Israeli announcement of settlement expansion in East Jerusalem
The Israeli press is reporting that today’s meeting in Jerusalem between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas marked the beginning of the negotiating process, because — after yet another closed-door one-on-one session — the two brought in their respective negotiations teams. The negotiating teams are due to start meeting next week.
However, the Israeli press also states, the negotiations won’t really start until after the Middle East Peace Conference that the U.S. wants to host in Annapolis, Maryland, in November. (It was originally suggested that the Peace Conference would be in September, perhaps around the time of the UN General Assembly’s annual high-level general debate).
On top of that, the Middle East Peace Conference might now be postponed a couple of weeks more, to allow more time for the Israelis and the rather un-technical Palestinian negotiators to spend together. The Jerusalem Post, for example, reported Wednesday evening that: “Sources in Washington said Wednesday that the international peace parley, scheduled for mid-November, might be postponed by two weeks or a whole month, to allow the sides to reach agreement, Army Radio reported.”
The JPost report that Washington is willing to postpone, again, the MidEast peace conference.
In another report, the Jerusalem Post’s Khaled Abu Toameh wrote that Abbas told reporters yesterday iafter meeting Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman that: “We’re negotiating with Israel, and after that there will be an agreement, which we will carry to the international conference to be blessed, adopted and endorsed, and then detailed negotiations shall begin…He said at least 12 Arab countries had agreed to send representatives to the conference. ‘There will be a very strong Arab presence at the conference’, Abbas said after holding talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah. ‘In addition, there will be some Islamic countries like Malaysia, Turkey and Indonesia’.”
The JPost report of Abbas’ remarks on the Middle East Peace Conference in Amman yesterday are here.
Continue reading Middle East Peace Conference by Thanksgiving? Christmas?