According to a top US official, Barack Obama is very pleased with the outcome of the Washington summit.
U.S. President Barack Obama is very pleased with the outcome of the Washington summit and plans to play a personal role to move the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians forward, a senior U.S. official told Haaretz over the weekend.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a number of senior Palestinian and other Arab leaders expressed similar optimism.
The senior official said Obama had cleared his entire schedule last Wednesday to devote himself to the summit. “He never invested in any other issue this way,” the official said.
Senior U.S. officials were encouraged by the discussions at the dinner where Obama hosted Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan’s King Abdullah. They said a sincere and open conversation took place on the possibilities for progress in the peace process. The officials said they had the impression the Palestinians left the summit very pleased as well.
Looks like they weren’t paying enough attention.
Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat said Saturday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to apply stall tactics to negotiations, and that all of his suggestions thus far have been rejected by the PA.
Erekat told Jordan’s al-Dustour Newspaper that the Israeli prime minister suggested forming 12 committees dedicated to the various issues of the peace process, but his suggestion was rejected.
The chief Palestinian negotiator said that Netanyahu’s “procrastination” has effectively made the peace talks grind to a halt: “There are decisions to be made, so that first and foremost we create a vision,” he told the newspaper, adding that such action is the only thing that would allow negotiations to start at the point at which they were left off during the Olmert Administration.
Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)
9:38PM: The IDF has released video footage of Friday’s explosion in southern Lebanon on Friday, showing rockets and weapons stored by Hizbullah in contravention of UN resolution 1701.
Following the blast, dozens of people can be seen apparently covering building’s exposed contents with canvas, before removing weapons from the building.
Some of the equipment was removed soon after the blast to two nearby villages, with the remainder transfered under the cover of darkness to a mosque in the Nabatiyeh area north of the Litani, which Israeli intelligence officers say also functions as a “significant” military base, the IDF said.
According to Israeli intelligence officials, who say they were aware of the arms cache before Friday’s explosion, weapons stored at the building included 107mm short-range rockets and longer-range 122mm rockets.
7:50PM: Yet another flash mob, this time at Rishon L’Tzion beach.
Today, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said we need to have creative, novel thinking in order to resolve the complex issues standing in the way of peace.
I hereby suggest we have an Israeli-palestinian flash mob.
5:15PM: Seems odd to me that “orthodox Jewish” men would be at a protest on a Saturday.
I guess such is these nutjobs’ hatred of Israel that they are willing to desecrate the Jewish Sabbath.
5:02PM: I’m still trying to reconcile this:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that he had warned Israel’s prime minister that he would quit peace talks unless the Jewish state extended a curb on settlement construction.
Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched negotiations at a summit in Washington last week.
A 10-month freeze on settlement housing ends September 26, and Netanyahu is under pressure from hardline allies to resume construction.
Netanyahu has not said what he will do. He told his cabinet on Sunday that creative solutions are needed to make the talks succeed.
However, Abbas told PLO activists in Libya late Saturday that “if the freeze period is not extended by the end of the month, there will be no negotiations.” Abbas said he made that clear to Netanyahu.
Netanyahu told his ministers on Sunday, “There is a feeling of maturity in the Arab world to reach peace.”
Still no luck.
4:10PM: I know I am already a few days late with this, but I can’t let it pass.
Last week Time magazine published an article entitled: Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace
Real serious journalism here. A provocative title and they’ve spoken with a couple of Tel Aviv condo salesmen. All in the name of demonizing the Jewish state.
Backspin has more.
1:30PM: Another palestinian prisoner has been awarded a degree while in prison.
A Palestinian prisoner held in the Negev prison was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy in Public Administration from the American World University, the Center for Detainees’ Studies announced Sunday.
Abdel Hafez Saadi Gaithan’s doctoral thesis was entitled Strategic Planning in Qabilia, a Palestinian village in the northern West Bank district of Nablus, a statement issued by the center’s director Rafat Hamdouna said.
Hamdouna said prisoners celebrated Gaithan’s success by distributing sweets, biscuits and soft drinks, with many describing his achievement as “a victory over the occupation.”
“[Gaithan’s] Phd was a challenge to break the policy of occupation, which attempts to abuse the captive and isolate him from the world,” the statement read.
Actually, this demonstrates that the policy is actually not “to abuse the captive and isolate him from the world,” but the exact opposite.
From the Ministry of Public Security:
Education activities are part of the daily routine in the prison system. In addition to 25 primary and four high school classes, there us a special program that enables prisoners to take correspondence courses through the Open University. Volunteer make a valuable contribution to the program and, in addition to leading study groups, offer private tutoring.
It is no wonder many palestinian youths deliberately get arrested partly because it is easier to study in Israeli prisons.
10:00AM: Photo of the day:
That really is a complicated way to get to the front door to sell cookies.
6:22AM: A couple of days ago, there was a mysterious explosion at a Hizbullah weapons storage facility.
Ok, perhaps not so mysterious.
In any event, the IDF has footage from the explosion’s aftermath.
6:20AM: Overnight, the IAF struck some smuggling tunnels in Gaza in response to the Hamas shooting attacks earlier this week, as well as the firing of a Qassam rocket hours before. One of the tunnels was “designed for the infiltration of terrorists into Israel in order to carry out terror attacks against soldiers and civilians.”
Reports vary regarding palestinian casualties, with AFP reporting one killed while the palestinian Ma’an reports three injured and one missing.
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