Thursday, December 16, 2010

TIP: U.S. Supports Israel's Pursuit of Peace Negotiations

U.S. Supports Israel's Pursuit of Peace Negotiations

Secretary of State Clinton meets with Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu at the beginning of peace talks, September, 2010

Washington, Dec. 16 - The United States House of Representatives has passed a resolution (Dec. 15) affirming the importance of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and rejecting unitaleral moves by the Palestinians to declare statehood.

Israel says a Palestinian unilateral declaration of independence would be meaningless since it avoids direct negotiations as a means to lasting peace, delaying the possibility of agreement on critical issues. Several countries in Latin America have recognized a Palestinian state that would occupy all territory captured by Israel in 1967 - but the United States and the European Union have rejected the move.

The House resolution supports a "negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict" and condemns "unilateral measures to declare or recognize a Palestinian state."

A negotiated solution, it says, is the only way to create two democratic states living side by side in "peace, security and mutual recognition."

Palestinians abandoned directed talks with Israel in September after a 10-month Israeli moratorium on building in the territories expired. The United States is now trying to get indirect negotiations going between the parties - but the Palestinians are resisting even that.

Key questions between the Israelis and Palestingians regarding security, borders, refugees and Jerusalem are still unresolved.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu committed the U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell on Tuesday (Sec. 14) that he is ready to discuss all the core issues in American-led indirect talks.

"The expectation is that borders and security arrangements will be the first two issues to be tackled," according to Haaretz, an Israeli daily.

Mitchell proposed bilateral talks on Wednesday (Dec. 15) - meaning parallel but separate American-led talks with the Israelis and Palestinians - as a means of restoring the negotiations.

Arab nations came out against any talks between Israel and the PA, "direct or indirect," unless the U.S. delineates what the future borders of a Palestinian state would be.