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Obama warns Israel's Netanyahu over peace talks failure

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Obama warns Israel's Netanyahu over peace talks failure

Post by Neno on Tue 04 Mar 2014, 4:36 pm

3 March 2014 Last updated at 07:10 ET

Obama warns Israel's Netanyahu over peace talks failure


Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama last met in Washington in September

President Barack Obama has warned Israel of "international fallout" if it does not endorse a US framework for a peace deal with the Palestinians.

Ahead of talks at the White House, Mr Obama told the Bloomberg news agency that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu needed to "seize the moment".

But Mr Netanyahu reacted defiantly, vowing: "I won't give in to pressure."

There has been little sign of progress from the direct talks that resumed in July after a three-year hiatus.

At the time, Washington said it sought to achieve a deal on a solution to the decades-old conflict by 29 April, but officials say a framework accord on core issues would enable negotiations to continue beyond that date.

'Vital interests'
The BBC's Kim Ghattas in Washington says Mr Netanyahu wants Monday's talks to focus on Iran's controversial nuclear programme.
He believes the US and other world powers are being naive in their negotiations with Tehran, and he is opposed to an agreement that would allow uranium enrichment to continue at low levels.

Yuval Steinitz Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister
But Mr Obama is unlikely to budge and is planning to press the Israeli prime minister on peace with the Palestinians, our correspondent adds.

The US president wants both sides to agree to the framework document - not yet made public - proposed by his Secretary of State, John Kerry, which seeks to achieve consensus on core issues.

They include the borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state; the status of Jerusalem; Israel's insistence that it be recognised as a Jewish state; the Palestinians' demand that their refugees be allowed to return to their former homes in what is now Israel; and security arrangements in the West Bank, with Israel wanting a long-term presence in the Jordan Valley.

In an interview with Bloomberg published on Sunday, Mr Obama said he would warn Mr Netanyahu that the "window is closing" for a peace deal.

"When I have a conversation with Bibi [Mr Netanyahu], that's the essence of my conversation: If not now, when? And if not you, Mr Prime Minister, then who? How does this get resolved?" he said, paraphrasing the revered Jewish sage Rabbi Hillel.

If the peace talks failed and there was "continued aggressive settlement construction" in the occupied West Bank, Mr Obama warned, Washington would have limited ability to protect Israel from "international fallout", an apparent reference to the Palestinians' threat to pursue Israel at the International Criminal Court and a boycott campaign.

Mr Obama said Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who will visit the White House on 17 March, was "sincere about his willingness to recognise Israel and its right to exist, to recognise Israel's legitimate security needs, to shun violence, to resolve these issues in a diplomatic fashion that meets the concerns of the people of Israel".



Mr Obama said the negotiations brokered by John Kerry had been "intense, detailed and difficult"

"I think this is a rare quality not just within the Palestinian territories, but in the Middle East generally. For us not to seize that opportunity would be a mistake."

When asked about Mr Obama's comments upon his arrival in Washington on Sunday evening, Mr Netanyahu told Israel's Channel 2 TV: "I won't give in to pressure."

"It has to be a good deal. I will stand up firmly for the vital interests of the state," he added.

Israel's Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz meanwhile told Israel's Army Radio: "Netanyahu will, I think, give a clear answer: 'We are ready for peace. We want to advance a diplomatic accord.

 But we, rightly, worry about and fear for our national security.'"
Israeli officials also blamed the lack of progress on Mr Abbas's refusal to agree to recognise Israel as a Jewish state. The Palestinians have recognised the state of Israel, but say recognising its Jewish character would have implications for Palestinian refugees and Israeli-Arabs.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-26416958


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Neno
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Re: Obama warns Israel's Netanyahu over peace talks failure

Post by Neno on Tue 04 Mar 2014, 4:39 pm

Obama: Netanyahu must make 'tough decisions'

President Obama: ''It's my belief that ultimately it is still possible to create two states''


US President Barack Obama has warned that Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu must make "tough decisions" to advance peace talks with the Palestinians.

At the White House, Mr Netanyahu replied Israelis expected him to "stand strong" and that the Palestinians had not done their part to ease tensions.

The White House has said it hopes to see a peace deal in place by 29 April.

But there has been little sign of progress since July, when direct talks resumed after a three-year hiatus.

'Compromise required'
The two leaders spoke publicly on Monday ahead of a bilateral meeting at the White House.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will visit Mr Obama later this month.

"It is still possible to create two states, a Jewish state of Israel and a state of Palestine, with people living side-by-side in peace and security," Mr Obama said on Monday. "But it's difficult. It requires compromise on all sides."



The US president said the April deadline for the completion of the talks was drawing near, and "some tough decisions are going to have to be made".

"The prime minister will make those decisions based on his absolute commitment to Israel's security and his recognition that ultimately Israel's security will be enhanced by peace with his neighbours."

Sitting beside the US president, Mr Netanyahu pointed to Israel's release of Palestinian prisoners, its withdrawal from Gaza, and other steps it had taken to ease tensions.

"Israel has been doing its part, and I regret to say that the Palestinians haven't," he said.

He demanded the Palestinians recognise Israel as a Jewish state.

And he said, "The best way to guarantee peace is to be strong, and that's what the people of Israel expect me to do: to stand strong against criticism, against pressure."

The meeting between the two leaders came soon after Israel released statistics showing a large increase in the pace of new settlement construction in the West Bank in 2013 over the year before.

About 500,000 Jews live in more than 100 settlements built since Israel's 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Settlements are considered illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this.
The Palestinians suspended the last round of talks in 2010 after a 10-month halt on Israeli building in the West Bank expired.

'Closing window'
Out of the current round of talks between Israel and the Palestinians, the US president wants both sides to agree to the framework document - not yet made public - proposed by his Secretary of State, John Kerry, which seeks to achieve consensus on core issues.

They include the borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state; the status of Jerusalem; Israel's insistence that it be recognised as a Jewish state; the Palestinians' demand that their refugees be allowed to return to their former homes in what is now Israel; and security arrangements in the West Bank, with Israel wanting a long-term presence in the Jordan Valley.
The Palestinians have recognised the state of Israel, but say recognising its Jewish character would have implications for Palestinian refugees and Israeli-Arabs.

In an interview with Bloomberg published on Sunday, Mr Obama said he would warn Mr Netanyahu that the "window is closing" for a peace deal.

"When I have a conversation with Bibi [Mr Netanyahu], that's the essence of my conversation: If not now, when? And if not you, Mr Prime Minister, then who? How does this get resolved?" he said, paraphrasing the revered Jewish sage Rabbi Hillel.

If the peace talks failed and there was "continued aggressive settlement construction" in the West Bank, Mr Obama warned, Washington would have limited ability to protect Israel from "international fallout", an apparent reference to the Palestinians' threat to pursue Israel at the International Criminal Court and a boycott campaign.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-26427247


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