Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said in an interview broadcast on Israeli TV on Saturday that Israel's continuing settlement building was worsening the chances for two states at peace with one another.
The land currently contested by Israelis and Palestinians has a long history of being contested. In the 19th century, when the area was under Ottoman control, several foreign missionaries settled in the land where Jesus walked. Philip J. Baldensperger, born in 1856, was the son of an Alsatian missionary living near Jerusalem. As a boy who grew up in Palestine, he learned first hand many of the customs and wrote his observations down. His magnum opus is The Immovable East, published in 1913, and available for free as a pdf at archive.org. I attach here the introduction to the work by the bibliophilic Frederic Lees. The pictures are well worth looking at the text, which is a fun read with banal Orientalist trimmings of an area where politics rules the day as never before.
AP – A low-level dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians is not at a dead end, the European Union’s foreign policy chief said Thursday, hoping that contacts to get “real negotiations under way” will continue.
Reuters – World powers trying to revive peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians may be flogging a dead horse and their repeated failure is eroding what credibility they have left as mediators.
Go to Source
Israelis and Palestinians take to the streets in celebration over a prisoner exchange deal which will free Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
Go to Source
AP – The Security Council is moving ahead with its review of the Palestinian bid for U.N. membership while Mideast mediators are preparing a fresh attempt to bring Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table.
Go to Source
AP – Israelis and Palestinians balked Thursday at backing away from positions that have stalled negotiations for years, an ominous sign for U.S.-led efforts to sidetrack a Palestinian statehood bid at the United Nations through a return to talks.
“… “Now, our European partners and we in Washington are waiting to see whether the parties are actually going to sign up to the president’s principles as a basis for negotiations,” Simon said, according to a source on the call who requested anonymity. “The Palestinians have been fairly forthcoming on this score. So we are kind of comfortable with that, but not completely, and now we are working with the Israeli government to see whether or not they can accept these principles as a basis for negotiations. Those discussions are ongoing.”
“The timeframe for those discussions is kind of compressed,” Simon further said, according to notes of his remarks, because UN rules require the paperwork for the possible Palestinian vote to be in several weeks before it would occur in September. “So we’ve got basically a month to see if we can work something out with the Israelis and Palestinians on accepting these principles as a basis for negotiations. If that happens, we are somewhat confident that the Palestinians would drop their action in the UN.”…”