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MIDEAST > Israeli Deputy PM has been tasked to revive Mideast talks

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Though officials doubt a breakthrough, Israeli deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are set to meet in Ramallah, in an effort to restart long-stalled peace talks

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) looks to his deputy Shaul Mofaz during their joint press conference in the Parliament. Mofaz will meet with Palestinian president Abbas in Ramallah on July 1 for a negotiation meeting. EPA photo

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) looks to his deputy Shaul Mofaz during their joint press conference in the Parliament. Mofaz will meet with Palestinian president Abbas in Ramallah on July 1 for a negotiation meeting. EPA photo

Israeli Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on July 1, a Palestinian official has said, in the highest-level meeting between the sides since peace talks broke down in 2010.

“There will be a meeting on July 1 between President Abbas and Mr. Mofaz. This comes after a request for a meeting from Mofaz,”

Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat told Voice of Palestine Radio yesterday.

A spokesman for Mofaz did not confirm or deny that a meeting had been arranged, but he did say there was ongoing contact with Abbas’ office toward setting up such an event.

Mofaz told reporters this month that he intended to meet Abbas “to examine ways to restart peace negotiations with the Palestinians.” However, few expect any progress in the long-frozen peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians ahead of the U.S. presidential elections in November.

‘Don’t raise expectations

“We do not want to raise expectations or lower them. This is not a negotiation meeting. The one responsible for negotiations is the (Israeli) prime minister as well as the official negotiating teams,” Reuters quoted Erekat as saying. He added that the meeting would take place in the Palestinian city of Ramallah.

Mofaz, the head of Israel’s centrist Kadima party, joined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition in May to form one of the biggest coalitions in Israeli history, a move that commentators said could give Netanyahu a freer hand to seek peace with the Palestinians.

Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in late 2010 in a dispute over Israeli settlement building in the West Bank, and Palestinians have demanded a halt to further construction before talks resume.

The Palestinians view settlement construction as a sign of bad faith and say there is no point in talking as long as Israel builds homes for its citizens on occupied lands that they claim for part of their eventual state. More than 500,000 Israelis now live in settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Israel says the settlements issue should be resolved during negotiations and rejects any pre-conditions for talks.

Mofaz recently returned from a diplomatic visit in Washington, where he held high-level meetings with U.S. officials on the resuming of peace talks. At the same time, Erekat also visited the U.S. for talks with Secretary of State Hillary

Clinton. Speaking to Israel Radio, Mofaz said Palestinian preconditions had become an obstacle and that the upcoming negotiations must and will be restarted “without any preconditions.”

One of the main conditions of the Kadima party joining the governing coalition was the advancement of the peace process in a responsible manner.

June/29/2012

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Danny B Danny

7/1/2012 1:53:00 PM

Chas Spencer: Israel (Palestine) belongs to the Jews much more than other countries in the world. We'll consider giving back to the Arabs if Australia , New Zeeland, South Africa, Canada, Brazil, United States and all other invaders will return their country to its Original inhabitants. Contrary to others, all evidence showing that Israel belongs to the Jews for 3000 years. Any stone will show you the Jewish history, unlikely your country of origin. Israel is only 0.14 % of Arabian countries.

Chas Spencer

7/1/2012 7:07:46 AM

@Danny b. All History according to Danny B. Danny equals to ZERO in face of the Following: "Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves...politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves... The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country." [source: Speech by David Ben-Gurion, 1938 - Let's face it D-b-D Stolen Land will always be just that; STOLEN LAND> Share or Get Out! D.b.D

american american

6/30/2012 1:08:28 AM

where was shaul mofaz born? eastern europe?

Danny B Danny

6/29/2012 8:29:39 PM

To the lion. did you read my post? mentioned also 1.2 million Jews expelled from Arabian countries , don't they belong to Israel? and where the Palestinian came from ? Most of them brought by the Turkish empire as workers to cut the trees for Turkish trains. If Israel doesn't belong to Jews same with Northern Cyprus and Kurdistan , why are you Turks there? Why were you in Palestine ? it doesn't belong to you either.

The Lion

6/29/2012 7:31:55 PM

Ed Frias Ed Frias, those are all poor excuses for the injustices of establishing a fake state that has never existed, Israel, with the backing of foreign imperialists. At what point in history was there a state in the Middle East run by Central/East Europeans? Also, it's hard to sympathize with israeli nationalists when they bulldoze people's homes and spread enmity against Muslims around the world through their control of the US media.

The Lion

6/29/2012 7:22:34 PM

Danny B Danny, those are poor excuses for the invention of a foreign state by foreign imperialists in the Middle East consisting of Central/East Europeans who don't belong there.

The Lion

6/29/2012 7:21:37 PM

Danny B Danny, those are poor excuses for the invention of a foreign state by foreign imperialists in the Middle East consisting of Central/East Europeans who don't belong there.

Murat

6/29/2012 5:04:01 PM

"Just reminding that the Jew accepted the UN partition plan in 29/11/1947, guess who rejected it?" Did anyone ask the Arabs if it was ok for them to be forced to live in a Jewish State? Did any Arab group anywhere agree to be annexed into a Jewish State and leave their homes and fields for settlers? I did not think so. The show goes on, no one is fooled.

Ed Frias Ed Frias

6/29/2012 3:24:18 PM

The barrier to Palestinian statehood has never been the Jews or the State of Israel. The Jews offered Arabs a two-state solution in 1919; accepted the two-state solution of the Peel Commission in 1937; accepted the UN two-state solution in 47-48. Israel offered the Palestinians a state in 2000; accepted the Clinton Parameters in 2000-01; and offered a state again at the end of 2008. The Palestinians rejected every offer, becoming the first people in history to reject a state 6 times and then set conditions for discussing another one.

Ed Frias Ed Frias

6/29/2012 3:23:10 PM

Israel offered the Palestinians a state twice in the last decade, even though there was never in history any state called Palestine governed by Palestinians. I have 2 words for you. Palestinian Rejectionism. The Palestinians refused to end the conflict as long as it meant that they would have to accept the legitimacy of Israel as a sovereign, permanent country and neighbor. Only when the Palestinians extremist/rejectionist/supremacist attitude changes will peace really be possible.
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