US Envoy To Press Israel Yet Again On Settlements

Washington's special envoy to the Mideast on Wednesday wrapped up his second meeting this week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu without reaching an agreement on curtailing Israeli settlement construction.

U.S. official George Mitchell will sit down with Netanyahu for a third time on Friday, Netanyahu's office said in a statement. Mitchell made no comment after Wednesday's meeting.

The U.S. has a lot on the line, having reached out very publicly to the Arab and Muslim world and taken an uncharacteristically tough stand against Israeli construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Washington is also working against time: the Obama administration hopes to bring Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas together in New York next week as a prelude to renewed peacemaking. That could be difficult without some headway on the controversial settlements.

The Palestinians claim the West Bank and east Jerusalem — captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war — as part of a future state and have demanded a complete construction freeze. The Obama administration has echoed that demand.

Netanyahu has offered a temporary moratorium on construction in the West Bank that would last several months. But he says the moratorium won't apply to some 3,000 apartments that already have been approved — some of them as late as last week. And he also has refused to halt building in east Jerusalem.

Israel annexed that sector of the disputed city after the 1967 war, and does not consider it a settlement. The annexation has not been internationally recognized, and the Palestinians seek east Jerusalem as the capital of their hoped-for state.

Netanyahu hopes his proposal for a limited freeze will be enough to please the U.S. without risking the stability of his coalition government, dominated by hardline settler patrons like himself.

But the Palestinians and the U.S. have dug in and rejected his proposals.

Failure to reach a compromise could scuttle any meeting between Netanyahu and Abbas next week on the sidelines of a U.N. General Assembly meeting. The two men have not met face-to-face since Netanyahu took office in March.

There has been speculation that President Barack Obama would attend such a meeting to give it added heft.


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  • by James Location: Washington on Sep 16, 2009 at 04:48 AM
    Jesus will bless those who support Israel and He will curse those who are against. Looks like the Palestinians and whomever supports what they're evil schemes will be cursed and will suffer from the wrath of God. Jerusalem is precious in the sight of the Lord and Israel as a nation is the apple of God's eye. Who shall stand against the Jehovah God of the Most High? It's sad to see that many nations including ours are turning against Israel by supporting the Palestinians which do not stand for peace and have shown the world to be in defiance along with their islamic terrorist counterparts hamas, taliban and others because they all do not have the God of peace, love and forgiveness living in their hearts. They all are of satan and if anyone wants to really find out the truth of the matter they can by reading the Holy Bible. It gives many references in detail about what we as Jews and Christians are up against which is the works of the devil through this islamic regeme. God Bless!
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