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« Iran Snap Analysis: A Rights-First Approach in Washington? | Main | Middle East Analysis: Syria, Thomas Friedman, & "Why We Fail" (Narwani) »

Middle East Inside Line: Gaza is Boiling, Israel-Palestine Negotiations, Netanyahu to Washington

Gaza Rockets, Israel's Response: Five rockets in 48 hours have been launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel, one of them taking the life of a Thai worker. In response, Israeli Air Forces carried out two air strikes on two tunnels which wounded 14 Palestinians, two seriously.

Middle East Analysis: Syria, Thomas Friedman, & “Why We Fail” (Narwani)

Latest on Israel-Palestine Negotiations: On Friday, the Quartet (Russia, the United States, the UN and the European Union) called on Israel and the Palestinians to renew peace negotiations to achieve a two-state solution within 24 months. The statement said:

The Quartet believes these negotiations should lead to a settlement, negotiated between the parties within 24 months, that ends the occupation that began in 1967 and results in the emergence of an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbors.

The Quartet urges the government of Israel to freeze all settlement activities ... and to refrain from demolitions and evictions.

In response, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman bombarded the Quartet:
Peace will be established through actions and not by force.

The Quartet is ignoring the last 16 years of Israeli attempts, and is giving the Palestinians the impression that they can achieve their demands by continuing to refuse direct negotiations under false pretexts.

The Israeli government has made many significant gestures. Now it's the Palestinian's turn to prove that they are really interested in negotiations.

The Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas was satisfied with the Quartet's decision and called it as "very important" but had one thing to add:
It is very important, but what is more important is for Israel to comply with what came in it so that we can launch the peace process.

According to the London-based pan Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, the chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority Saeb Erekat has demanded that the international community place supervisors in West Bank settlements and East Jerusalem in order to ensure Israeli building halts completely. He said: "Even if Netanyahu would accept the position of the Quartet, in their call for a building freeze we wouldn't believe him because the building continues secretly."

On Saturday, UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon landed in Israel and went to Ramallah were he criticized Israeli settlement building by saying that it undermines peace efforts. He said:
The world has condemned Israel's settlement plans in east Jerusalem. Let us be clear. All settlement activity is illegal anywhere in occupied territory and must be stopped.

Having finished his meetings in the West Bank, General Secretary is going to return Israel to meet with President Shimon Peres. On Sunday, he is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak and to visit the Gaza Strip. He said:
I go to Gaza tomorrow to express my solidarity with the plight of the Palestinians here and to underscore the need to end the blockade.

Netanyahu to Washington: Meanwhile, Israeli officials have confirmed that United States President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday.

In interview with BBC television on Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was asked whether escalating the tone with Israel had paid off. She replied:
I think we're going to see the resumption of the negotiation track and that means that it is paying off because that's our goal.

Reader Comments (2)

RE: Netanyahu to Washington:
According to the Sunday Times(, Binyamin Netanyahu will use his visit to Washington this week to press the US to release sophisticated bunker-busting bombs needed for a possible strike on Iran’s nuclear sites. So I hardly think escalating the tone with Israel has paid off. It's like the US and Israel are on 2 different planets right now.

March 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Achtung all EA readers in Germany! Did you know you now have a new cultural project, Iran Haus?

On March 14, a conference was held in Hamburg to commemorate the new cultural project, Iran Haus. Rahim Mashai, Ahmadinejad's adviser and former head of the Cultural Heritage Foundation, was a featured speaker. The event was held at Hamburg Airport's Terminal 2 to prevent protestors from disrupting the conference, though a dozen nonetheless managed to assemble with green banners.

The Iran Haus project was initiated by a group of Iranians with German citizenship. Under the banner of "maintaining a cultural dialogue with Iran," they aim to reaffirm Germany's economic ties with the Iranian government and to seek opportunities for strengthening trade relations between the two countries.

Read all about it and check out the neatly appropriate 'Mephisto-Faust' photo provided for the occasion:

March 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

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