Israelis and Palestinians talking again after months-long freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Richard Boudreaux - September 3, 2009 - 12:00am

Reporting from Jerusalem - In a limited thaw of a frosty relationship, Israeli and Palestinian officials held their first high-level meeting in months Wednesday and discussed ways to bolster a promising economic recovery in the West Bank. The encounter was part of a shift by the West Bank-based Palestinian leadership, which previously shunned contact with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government. That position was out of step with the Obama administration, which is seeking to bring the sides together.

Blair: Israel thinks its time for talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer - September 3, 2009 - 12:00am

Mideast Quartet envoy Tony Blair expressed optimism on a settlement freeze agreement in the near future, that will pave the way for renewed regional peace talks. Followings talks with Israeli officials in recent days, Blair told the British Independent: "I hope and believe... we can get a political negotiation launched on satisfactory terms."

Quartet to urge Israel to freeze all settlement activity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
June 26, 2009 - 12:00am

TRIESTE, Italy (Reuters) - The Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators will urge Israel on Friday to freeze all settlement activity, including "natural growth," a European diplomat said. The Quartet, which includes the United Nations, European Union, United States and Russia, will make the call in a statement after its first formal meeting since U.S. President Barack Obama took office in January.

Blair Sees Possibility of Israeli-Palestinian Breakthrough
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by David Sapsted - June 1, 2009 - 12:00am

There could be a breakthrough in diplomatic moves to establish peace between Israel and the Palestinians within a few weeks, Tony Blair, the UN’s special Middle East envoy, predicted yesterday. The former British prime minister told a committee of British MPs that the month of June would be “critical” to efforts to find a way forward.

Blair Says Resolving Mideast Conflict Critical to Curbing Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bloomberg
by Gwen Ackerman, Jonathan Ferziger - May 6, 2009 - 12:00am

Middle East envoy Tony Blair said resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would remove a toxic barrier between the West and Islamic nations and help deal with the nuclear threat from Iran. Peace in the region would “hugely help in resolving this bigger problem” and remove an “issue which puts such a poison into the relationship between the West, Israel, if you like, and the world of Islam,” the former British prime minister said yesterday in an interview in Jerusalem.

Defense sources: PA security forces step up fight against Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff, Amos Harel - April 27, 2009 - 12:00am

Defense and security sources in Israel have noted an improvement in recent weeks in the performance of the Palestinian Authority security forces in the West Bank. In conversations with Haaretz, the security sources said that the Palestinians have stepped up their activities against militant groups, primarily Hamas.

Obama envoy Mitchell to ask PM to clarify position on peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar, Amos Harel - April 16, 2009 - 12:00am

U.S. special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell arrived last night in Israel for the third round of talks in Jerusalem and Ramallah since his appointment, and the first during the tenure of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Mitchell is expected to ask the prime minister during their meeting today to clarify Israel's position regarding the resumption of negotiations with the Palestinians and Syria.

Why new Palestinian talks will fail
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by George Giacaman - (Opinion) April 14, 2009 - 12:00am

The second round of Palestinian reconciliation talks in Cairo have been postponed for several weeks, and even if they resume toward the end of April as announced, it is not likely that they will succeed. At best the parties might agree on the composition of the new Cabinet, but all other issues, even if there is agreement in principle over them, will not be implemented any time soon.

Abbas to Quartet: Israel must commit for talks to resume
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
April 10, 2009 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has made peace talks with Israel's new government conditional on it committing to previous agreements and freezing Jewish settlement growth, aides said on Friday. Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Abbas conveyed that message directly to the so-called Quartet of Middle East mediators -- the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations.

The pulse of a meeting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Daoud Kuttab - March 5, 2009 - 1:00am

A resounding and unanimous international message of support for Gaza reconstruction was sounded in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh on March 2. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, along with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas were joined at the conference by foreign ministers as well as representatives of regional and international organisations and foundations. Ironically two key groups were absent from the meeting: Israel and Hamas.

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