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Daily Archives: January 19, 2011

Mahmoud Abbas urges Quartet to put pressure on Israel

Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas greets Russian President Dmitry Medvedev after his visit the Jericho Museum in the West Bank Oasis town of Jericho on January 18, 2011. (Photo by ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

Jan 19 (KATAKAMI.COM / Jpost) — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday urged the Quartet members, who are scheduled to meet in Munich next month, to issue decisions that would oblige Israel to return to the negotiating table with the Palestinians.

Abbas, who was speaking during a joint press conference in Jericho with visiting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, said there were only two options: Negotiations or violence and terrorism.

“We won’t choose violence and terrorism,” he declared. “Therefore, we tell the Israelis that they must choose the path of peace for their own interest and for the interests of their generations.”

Medvedev was originally scheduled to come first to Israel before going to the PA, but his trip to Israel was canceled because of the Foreign Ministry workers’ sanctions. A senior ministry official said that once the work sanctions ended, Jerusalem would contact Moscow to try and reschedule a visit to Israel.

Abbas reiterated his demand for a full cessation of settlement construction so as to pave the way for the resumption of the peace talks and the implementation of the road map for peace, the Arab peace initiative and UN resolutions.

He hailed the Russians for their longtime support for the Palestinians, noting that he had once headed the Palestinian- Russian Friendship Association.

Abbas said he had briefed Medvedev on the ongoing construction in the settlements and Israeli measures in east Jerusalem that, he claimed, were designed to change the city’s character, identity and history.

The two men also discussed the impasse in the peace talks and the possibility that Russia, as a member of the Quartet, would play an active role in the peace process, Abbas said. The Quartet, which is made up of the US, EU, Russia and UN, is scheduled to meet next on February 5 in Munich.

Abbas also praised Latin American countries that had recently recognized a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 borders.
Medvedev said at the press conference that the Russian position toward the issue of recognizing a Palestinian state hadn’t changed.
He pointed out that the Soviet Union had recognized the PLO declaration of statehood in 1988.

“The Russian position hasn’t changed, as I’ve told the president,” he said. “Russia has made its choice long ago, at the end of the ’80s. We supported and will support the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to create its own state, which is independent, territorially integral and with a capital in east Jerusalem.”

Israeli officials pointed out that the Russian president stepped back from explicitly calling for a state along the 1967 lines, a recognition the Palestinians are seeking. The officials said that Foreign Ministry officials were in touch with the Russian delegation before it went to Jericho to ensure there would be no change in the Russian position.

Israeli government officials said they regretted that the PA was investing so much energy in trying to get “meaningless declarations” from various countries around the world.

“In 1988, Yasser Arafat declared an independent state and more than 100 counties recognized it,” one official said. “The question is whether that changed anything for the Palestinians, did it change anything in the West Bank? It changed nothing.”

The official said the Palestinian leadership needed to chose between “the path of empty rhetoric and meaningless declarations” and “direct engagement with Israel.” Only through negotiations with Israel “can realities be changed,” the official said.

National Security Adviser Uzi Arad was in Moscow last week and President Shimon Peres is scheduled to meet with Medvedev later this month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Medvedev said he discussed with Abbas ways of reviving the peace talks with Israel. He called on both parties to exercise self-restraint and avoid unilateral actions. He also called for a halt of Israeli construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

He said all parties would benefit from the creation of a Palestinian state, especially Israelis and Palestinians. “This is what we have to work to achieve,” Medvedev said.

He also expressed readiness to host a peace conference in Moscow and warned that the current stalemate would have a negative impact on the situation in the Middle East.

Medvedev and Abbas inaugurated the Russian Museum in Jericho. Abbas described the project as a “symbol of Russian civilization in Palestine.”

Medvedev said that the existence of the museum in the Palestinian territories was a symbol of Russian presence in the Holy Land and the strong ties between Palestinians and Russians.  (*)

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PM Benjamin Netanyahu to attend AIPAC conference in DC this May

PHOTO FILE : Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu smiles as he takes the stage to address the gala banquet of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual policy conference in Washington March 22, 2010. Declaring "Jerusalem is not a settlement," Netanyahu struck a defiant note on Monday after new U.S. criticism of Jewish home construction in disputed territory in and around the city. His speech in Washington to AIPAC, an influential pro-Israel lobby group, contrasted sharply with an address U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made at the same forum hours earlier. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Prime minister will be making his second straight in-person appearance at the Washington policy conference.


Photostream : Bibi Netanyahu in Washington

WASHINGTON, Jan 19 (KATAKAMI.COM / JPost) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will attend this year’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in May, his office confirmed on Tuesday.

Netanyahu conveyed his acceptance of the annual invitation to the Israeli premier during a meeting he had with the organization in Israel on Monday, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

He will be making his second straight in-person appearance at the AIPAC policy conference, set to take place in Washington from May 22 through 24.

Though prime ministers traditionally address the gathering, it is often arranged by satellite link from Jerusalem, as occurred during the first policy conference after Netanyahu entered office in 2009.

His visit at last year’s conference, which was held in March, took place upon a backdrop of tension between the United States and Israel. It came soon after US Vice President Joe Biden made a trip to Israel himself where he was greeted by the advancement of plans for additional housing in the Ramat Shlomo area of east Jerusalem, sparking one of the most serious crises between the two countries in years.

When Netanyahu came for the 2010 AIPAC conference, he was granted a last-minute meeting with US President Barack Obama that was shrouded under a media blackout.

The resulting tensions weren’t fully lifted until Netanyahu’s visit to the White House in July, held in front of cameras and full of sentiments of mutual regard.

Since then, direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians finally began, only to grind to a halt when Israel’s temporary freeze on settlements – imposed under pressure from the United States – ended in late September and the Palestinians refused to continue talks without a renewal of the freeze.

The prime minister held extensive consultations with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on a deal to extend the freeze during his most recent trip to the US trip this November, which took him to New York but not Washington, but the deal ultimately fell through.

The US is now scrambling to find another formula for restarting talks, and how forthcoming Netanyahu is perceived to be by the Americans between now and then will factor into how he is received by Obama come May. (*)

 
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Photostream : Chinese President Hu Jintao Arrives in US for State Visit

U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden (R) and Chinese President Hu Jintao (L) stand at the end of the red carpet during an arrival ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base January 18, 2011 at Camp Springs, Maryland. Chinese President Hu is on a state visit to the United States. He will be welcomed with a state arrival ceremony and have official meetings with the Obama Administration at the White House tomorrow. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Chinese President Hu Jintao talks with Vice President Joe Biden during an arrival ceremony,Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

China's President Hu Jintao receives flowers upon his arrival at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington for a state visit, January 18, 2011. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is at rear. REUTERS/Jason Reed

China's President Hu Jintao greets members of the United States government alongside Vice President Joe Biden (R) upon his arrival at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington for a state visit, January 18, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Reed

China's President Hu Jintao and and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (R) listen to national anthems upon Hu's arrival at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington for a state visit, January 18, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Reed

 
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Israeli Prime Minister Gives Posts to Labor Party Defectors

PHOTO FILE : Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, leave the West Wing after a meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington Tuesday, March 23, 2010. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(KATAKAMI.COM / VOA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is giving four cabinet posts to former Labor party politicians who resigned from the party Monday under the lead of Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
News reports say Mr. Netanyahu awarded the posts Tuesday, following negotiations with Barak.  Under the agreement, Barak will remain the defense minister.

On Monday, Barak and four other Labor politicians announced their departure from the party.  Barak said he would form a new parliamentary faction called Atzmaut (Independence) that would be part of the governing coalition.

With the split, Labor has eight members who remain in parliament.

Recently, there have been sharp divisions within the Labor Party regarding its role in the government’s failure to advance peace talks with the Palestinians.  (*)

 
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President Dmitry Medvedev Visits Palestine

Official welcome ceremony. President Dmitry Medvedev with President of Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas.

Jan 18 (KATAKAMI.COM / KREMLIN.RU) — Talks between the President of Russia and President of Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas took place in Jericho. The main issue discussed during the meeting was Middle East settlement.

At the news conference following the talks, Dmitry Medvedev said that Russia supports the right of the Palestinian people to establish their own territorially unified and indivisible state, adding that the potential of international and regional organisations should be used more actively to move the process forward.

The Russian President confirmed his intention to host an international conference on the Middle East in Moscow. Mr Medvedev said that the international legal framework needed to achieve tangible results in addressing the Middle East conflict is already in place. The prospects for the conference will become clear following the upcoming meeting of the Middle East Quartet in Munich.

A number of joint documents were signed following the Russian-Palestinian talks. (*)

 
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