Palestinians disappointed by Middle East Quartet's settlement stance

Middle East Quartet. Munich, February 5, 2011

 

Feb 7 (KATAKAMI / RIA NOVOSTI) — Palestinians on Sunday said they were disappointed that the Middle East Quartet refused to heed their call for unilateral statehood and failed to take a strong stance on Israel’s settlement construction, when it met on February 5 in Germany.

The quartet – the UN, the U.S., the EU and Russia – met on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference amid ongoing pro-democracy protests in Egypt and discussed the current impasse facing the Palestinian-Israeli search for peace.

Direct talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, which resumed last September after a 20-month standoff, collapsed in December after Israel refused to stop construction in the occupied West Bank. On Saturday European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton announced that the next Quartet’s meeting would be held in mid-March.

“[The] continuation of the crisis in the Middle East is linked to the ongoing Israeli occupation of the Palestinian and Arab land,” spokesman for the Palestinian Authority Nabil Abu Rudeineh emphasized.

“We expected the Quartet, in such exceptional circumstances in the region, to live up to the event by asking Israel to stop all settlement activity, including in al-Quds (Jerusalem) and to recognize the 1967 borders as borders of a Palestinian state with its capital in East al-Quds,” chief negotiator for the Palestinian Administration Saeb Erekat said.

Palestinians hoped the Quartet would issue “historic decisions in light of the danger facing the region because of Israeli occupation and policies,” Erekat said. The West should stop “dealing with Israel as a state above the law,” he added.  (*)

 

PM Netanyahu pledges steps to boost Palestinian Authority economy

In this handout image supplied by the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) meets with Envoy of the Quartet to the Middle East Tony Blair on February 4, 2011 in Jerusalem, Israel. The former British Prime Minister met with Netanyahu ahead of a meeting between Middle East Quartet mediators in Munich. (Photo by Moshe Milner/GPO via Getty Images)

Quartet Envoy Tony Blair, Prime Minister Netanyahu agree on economic incentives including alleviation of construction regulations in east Jerusalem, expanding presence of PA security forces in Area B

Feb 5 (KATAKAMI.COM / YNET) — Amid unrest in the Middle East and attempts to renew negotiations with the Palestinians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday informed Quartet Envoy to the Middle East Tony Blair that he will take steps to support economic growth in the Palestinian territories.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu spoke at the Knesset plenum, pledging to introduce economic measures to help boost the Palestinians’ economy.

During his meeting with Blair on Friday, the two agreed on economic gestures that include improvements to infrastru Despite the concessions, Netanyahu emphasized that peace will not be attained by only promoting “economic peace,” but rather by “engaging in negotiations for political peace, and I hope (Palestinian President) Mahmoud Abbas answers my calls

“I insist on elements of peace and security because any agreement we reach needs to take into account not only the situation today, but also the situation that may come into being tomorrow,” he said.

The measures are meant to draw the Palestinians back to the negotiations table in order to resume direct talks.

After the meeting was concluded, Blair noted that the two agreed to extend the presence of Palestinian security forces throughout Area B in the West Bank, and advance the construction and restoration of schools and clinics in Area C based on plans that will be transferred to The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.

The Quartet envoy added that Israel has agreed to support all projects in east Jerusalem that comply with municipal regulations, and that are aimed at improving the Palestinian infrastructure including in the field of housing.  (*)

Palestinian PM Blames Egypt Turmoil on Failed Mideast Talks

French president Nicolas Sarkozy (C) shakes hands with Palestinian Prime minister Salam Fayyad prior to a meeting on February 3, 2011 at the Elysee palace in Paris. (Photo by PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images)

Feb 3 (KATAKAMI.COM / VOA) — Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Thursday the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process was one of the root causes of the bloody upheaval in Egypt.

Speaking during a visit to Paris, Fayyad said the violent unrest in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East stemmed from internal problems as well as “frustration” with the failure to solve the Palestinian issue.

Fayyad was holding dinner talks Thursday with French President Nicolas Sarkozy to review progress following a 2007 donors conference that pledged $7.7 billion in aid to Palestinians.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said earlier in the day that France was ready to organize a second such conference on the condition that it include a “political dimension” leading to a future Palestinian state.  (*)

Photostream : French President Nicolas Sarkozy meets Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad

French president Nicolas Sarkozy (L) shakes hands with Palestinian Prime minister Salam Fayyad after a meeting on February 3, 2011 at the Elysee palace in Paris. (Photo by PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images)

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy (C) shakes hands with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (L) as he arrives for a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris February 3, 2011. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

French president Nicolas Sarkozy (C) shakes hands with Palestinian Prime minister Salam Fayyad prior to a meeting on February 3, 2011 at the Elysee palace in Paris. (Photo by PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images)

Palestinian Prime minister Salam Fayyad answers journalists' questions after a meeting with French president Nicolas Sarkozy on February 3, 2011 at the Elysee palace in Paris. (Photo by PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images)

Palestinian Prime minister Salam Fayyad answers journalists' questions after a meeting with French president Nicolas Sarkozy on February 3, 2011 at the Elysee palace in Paris. (Photo by PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images)

Mahmoud Abbas says not to run for re-election

File : Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas

RAMALLAH, Feb. 2 (KATAKAMI.COM /Xinhua) — Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Wednesday that he doesn’t intend to run in any upcoming presidential elections, a senior Palestinian official said.

The Palestinian leadership is seriously studying to prepare for holding new parliamentary and presidential elections, the official said on condition of anonymity.

“President Abbas is expected to call for holding the elections soon, but he hasn’t setup a date yet,” the official said, in the aftermath of a meeting of Abbas Fatah movement’s revolutionary council held in Ramallah.

The official quoted Abbas as saying during the meeting that “we will call for presidential and legislative elections soon and I won’t run for another presidential term.”

The Islamic Hamas movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, and defeated Fatah movement in the 2006 elections, opposes holding new elections before reaching a reconciliation agreement and ending the current split.

Hamas had seized control of the Gaza Strip by force since it routed secular Abbas security forces in June 2007.

However, the official said that the elections would be held, despite Hamas’ opposition.

The official quoted Abbas as saying that “the judge will be the polls as long as achieving a reconciliation agreement is obstructed. The only solution is to hold the elections and any party can come and observe holding it.”

Meanwhile, the official revealed that Abbas is also intending to reshuffle the current government of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.  (*)

Palestinians to hold municipal elections

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad

Feb 01 (KATAKAMI.COM / JPOST) — The Western-backed Palestinian government in the West Bank says it will hold local council elections “as soon as possible.”

The move appears to be a response to unrest in Egypt, where demonstrators have staged days of rallies against the authoritarian government. The Palestinian Authority has not held elections since 2006.

Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s Cabinet said Tuesday it will set dates for the vote next week.

Fayyad hopes to hold elections in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. But in reality, Gaza will likely not participate since it is controlled by the rival Hamas militant group.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas canceled local elections in the West Bank in 2009 when it appeared that his Fatah movement would lose to independents.   (*)

Mahmoud Abbas Calls Shimon Peres

FILE : Israeli president Shimon Peres (R) welcomes his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas during the first meeting of Israeli and Palestinian heads of state ever to be held in the President's Residence on July 22, 2008 in Jerusalem, Israel.

Jan 26 (KATAKAMI.COM / ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) — Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas called President Shimon Peres on Wednesday to express his condolences for the death of his wife, Sonia Peres.

The two reportedly discussed issues related to negotiations, during which Peres told Abbas: “I am grateful to your firm stance against provocative attempts to delegitimize the Palestinian Authority and the peace process.”

Abbas responded, saying: “You and us together must stand like a barrier against these efforts. The peace process should not be destroyed.”  (*)

Photostream : Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak meets Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, right, meets with Palestinian authority President Mahmoud Abbas, centre, at the Presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Jan. 24, 2011. Talks come within the framework of efforts aimed at reviving the Middle East peace process. At left is Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

From right to left, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak meets with Palestinian authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, Egyptian foreign minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh at the Presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Jan. 24, 2011. Talks come within the framework of efforts aimed at reviving the Middle East peace process. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (R) talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (C) and Palestinian Chief Negotiator, Saeb Erekat, during their meeting at the presidential palace in Cairo, January 24, 2011. Palestinian negotiators secretly told Israel it could keep swathes of occupied East Jerusalem, according to leaked documents that show Palestinians offering much bigger peace concessions than previously revealed. The documents, obtained by the Al Jazeera television channel, could undermine Abbas's position, whose public declarations about Jerusalem are at odds with what his officials were promising in private. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

Palestinian authority President Mahmoud Abbas, right, listens to Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat during a press conference following his meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, not pictured, at the Presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Jan. 24, 2011. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Palestinians reject Israeli report on flotilla raid

People gather to welcome home the Mavi Marmara, the flagship of the ill-fated Gaza flotilla attacked by Israel this summer, in Istanbul, Turkey, Dec. 26, 2010. The Mavi Marmara departed from Turkey in May to break the Israeli blockade on Gaza and deliver humanitarian aids. On May 31, Israel raided the ship in international waters before it could reach its destination and killed nine activists aboard. (Xinhua/Chen Ming)

RAMALLAH, Jan. 24 (KATAKAMI.COM / Xinhua) — Palestinian officials rejected the findings of an Israeli investigation committee that soldiers acted legally when they attacked a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in international waters last May.

The Israeli commandos’ raid killed nine pro-Palestinian activists, mostly Turks onboard the flotilla, which raised strong international condemnation.

“The investigation results are unacceptable and strongly rejected because they came from a panel with no credibility,” said Ghassan Al-Khatib, spokesman for the Palestinian government in the West Bank.

The report of the inquiry committee defended the naval assault on the Gaza Strip and the decision to prevent the flotilla from reaching Gaza.

Al-Khatib said that a neutral party should have investigated the raid on the ship Mavi Marmara. “It makes no sense that Israel, which is blamed on the incident, to examine what had happened,” he added.

Israel eased Gaza siege to calm down global criticism after the raid, but still keeps enforcing the maritime blockade.

Meanwhile, Gaza’s ruling Hamas group also criticized the report, saying that “the criminal should not be the judge at the same time. ”

Israel imposed blockade on Gaza after Hamas captured an Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and held him hostage in the coastal enclave in 2006, then tightened the blockade a year later after Hamas took over Gaza.  (*)

Leaked document shows what the Palestinian Authority really thinks of Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looks on at the State Department in Washington September 2, 2010. REUTERS/Jim Young

In meet between Saeb Erekat and U.S. diplomat David Hale, Erekat describes difficulty arranging a phone call with Netanyahu, says Israelis want a two state solution ‘sometimes more than Palestinians.’

Jan 23 (KATAKAMI.COM / HAARETZ) — A document leaked by Al-Jazeera TV on Sunday reveals a string of unsuccessful interactions between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian Authority, as well as a serious mistrust between the two sides.

The document, from January 15, 2010 is a summary of a meeting in Jericho between Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat and the United States diplomat David Hale.

During the meeting, Erekat complained about Netanyahu and National Security Advisor, Uzi Arad, describing incidents where he couldn’t manage to arrange a phone conversation between Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas.

“I called Uzi Arad before Passover and arranged a call from Abbas to Netanyahu to congratulate him. I got nothing. Come Ramadan, the feast, nothing. I called them to meet from the beginning, they kept canceling. This is Netanyahu,” Erekat told Hale during the meeting.

The meeting between the two took place shortly after Netanyahu’s cabinet had agreed to a 10 month freeze on West Bank settlement building.

Hale apparently pressured Erekat to renew negotiations with Israel, emphasizing to him that the U.S. government wanted to do this in a way that would honor the Palestinian viewpoint. He also told Erekat “a freeze in Jerusalem is beyond reach,” saying that Netanyahu would never agree to it.

Further on in their conversation, Erekat tells Hale “Abbas will not allow Netanyahu to do to him what he did to Arafat.”

“Abbas is the father of the peace camp,” Erekat tells Hale. “His heart aches when he sees families thrown into the streets of Jerusalem.”

He describes the Palestinian Authority desire for a state with “’67 borders with agreed swaps” and tells Hale “That is also your postion so say it.”

“Israelis want the two state solution but they don’t trust. They want it more than you think, sometimes more than Palestinians,” Erekat says.

He mentions a paper that lays out the Palestinian Authority position on negotiations, saying “What is in that paper gives them the biggest Jerusalem in Jewish history, symbolic number of refugees return, demilitarized state… What more can I give?”.  (*)

Palestinian chief negotiator rejects plan for 'provisional state'

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat

Jan 23 (KATAKAMI.COM / RIA NOVOSTI) — Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat has rejected a plan for a Palestinian state in provisional borders drafted by the Israeli foreign minister.

The Palestinians seek to create an independent state on the territories of West Bank, East Jerusalem, partially occupied by Israel, and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Israeli media unveiled on Sunday a ‘map of a Palestinian state’ drafted by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in an effort to resolve the long-standing Arab-Israeli conflict.

“After a Palestinian state has been established in provisional borders, it would be possible to resume diplomatic negotiations and maybe reach agreements on transferring additional territory to the Palestinian state,” Ha’aretz quoted a senior Foreign Ministry official as saying.

Referring to the proposal, the Palestinian negotiator said: “Lieberman’s plan came after the Israelis felt embarrassed and isolated by the international community, which has gradually supported the establishment of a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.”

“This is why they are trying to turn the ball over to the Palestinian and Arab side,” ynetnews.com quoted Erekat’s statement.

Earlier this week, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev reaffirmed Russia’s endorsement of an independent Palestinian state. Erekat described the statement as “an historic move to make the Palestinians proud for a very long time to come.”  (*)

GAZA, January 23

Russia's Medvedev to visit Jordan, Palestinian Territory next week – Kremlin

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moscow, Jan 16 (KATAKAMI.COM / RIA NOVOSTI / KREMLIN.RU) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will make an official visit to Jordan and the Palestinian Territory on January 18-19, the Kremlin press service announced on Saturday.

Medvedev earlier had plans of visiting Israel on his two-day visit, however that trip was canceled due to Israeli Foreign Ministry employees calling a strike in order to get salary increases.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier this week that Israeli officials were categorically against entertaining any foreign guests during the strike.

According to some sources, Medvedev will visit Jericho in the West Bank to open a Russian museum. (*)

Photostream : Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad meets Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (R) meets with Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere (L) on January 12, 2011 Ramallah, West Bank. (Photo by Fadi Arouri-Pool/Getty Images)

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (R) shakes hands with Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere in the West Bank city of Ramallah January 12, 2011. REUTERS/Fadi Arouri/Pool

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (R) and Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere attend a news conference after their meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah January 12, 2011. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad : Palestinians seek more than a 'Facebook state'

Palestinian Prime Minister said Palestinians expect wider recognition of their statehood in 2011. -- PHOTO: AP

Please also visit : KATAKAMI.COM and INDONESIAKATAKAMI.BLOGSPOT.COM

RAMALLAH, December 30, 2010 (KATAKAMI / THE STRAITS TIMES) — PALESTINIANS expect wider recognition of their statehood in the coming year and it will mean more than the mere ‘Facebook state’ predicted by an Israeli official, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said on Wednesday.

Mr Fayyad said recognition by many countries would ‘enshrine’ the Palestinians’ right to a state in all of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which Israel captured along with East Jerusalem in a 1967 war.

Seventeen years of peace efforts had failed to deliver this promise, he told reporters. The current Israeli coalition’s stated commitment to a two-state solution could not be relied on ‘given the erosion that has taken place’, he said.

Jewish settlement of the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem has doubled since the interim Oslo accords of 1993.

Direct peace talks revived by Washington in September after a year’s suspension collapsed within weeks. A US drive to keep the process alive via third-party talks is in limbo.

The Palestinians reject further negotiation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu until Jewish settlement of West Bank land is frozen and Mr Netanyahu states clearly what size and shape of state he envisages agreeing to eventually. ‘It is very important for that to be defined,’ Mr Fayyad said.   (*)

Source : THE STRAITS TIMES & REUTERS

Photostream : Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem

Palestinian President Mamoud Abbas attends Christmas midnight mass at the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem December 25, 2010. REUTERS/Fadi Arouri/Pool

Palestinian President Mamoud Abbas (L) attends Christmas midnight mass at the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem December 25, 2010. REUTERS/Fadi Arouri/Pool

Palestinian President Mamoud Abbas (L) and Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal chat following Christmas midnight mass at the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem December 25, 2010. REUTERS/Fadi Arouri/Pool

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal leads Christmas midnight mass at the Church of the Nativity, traditionally believed to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem early Saturday, Dec. 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Fadi Arouri, Pool)

A nun prays at the Church of the Nativity, believed to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on December 24, 2010 as the Holy Land prepares to mark Christmas. (Photo by MUSA AL-SHAER/AFP/Getty Images)

A Palestinian girl dressed in a Santa Claus attire poses alongside other worshippers inside the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on December 24, 2010, as Christian flock to the what they believe is the birth place of Jesus Christ to celebrate his birth during Christmas mass. (Photo by MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)

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