JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak reportedly met secretly with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on the eve of peace talks.
Barak met with Abbas Sunday night in Amman, Israeli media reported, hours after meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah at his palace. Barak reportedly returned to Israel to brief Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu between the meetings.
A major Israeli-Palestinian summit in Washington is only hours away, but you'd hardly know it by the sparse media coverage and the relative paucity of comment from an administration that is working hard to keep expectations in check.
Looking through my in-box, there are lots of statements and briefings from the White House and State Department – but only a smattering of news about the talks, which will begin at the State Department dinner on Wednesday night.
‘Huge stakes’ for region, Obama administration if expectations unmet.
James D. Besser
When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meet at the State Department next week for their first direct negotiations in 20 months, predictions of quick breakthroughs and swift progress will be in short supply.
Experts divided on prospects of talks, but some suggest prime minister may be willing to bring in Kadima.
If the Palestinians are serious about a peace agreement with Israel, many analysts believe Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has the desire and ability to deliver it — even if it means having to change his coalition.
“If [Mahmoud] Abbas decides to move forward and do what is doable, he will have a partner in Netanyahu,” said Jonathan Rynhold, a senior lecturer at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Two weeks before their launch, the promised renewal of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks has already engendered a first: a joint statement of welcome by mainstream U.S. Jewish and Palestinian groups.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- It's a peace conference where nothing is off the table. -- or on it, for that matter.
The Obama administration's invitation to Palestinian and Israeli leaders to launch direct talks on Sept. 2 attempts to reconcile Israeli demands for no preconditions with Palestinian demands that the talks address all the core issues: final borders, the fate of Jerusalem and the fate of Palestinian refugees.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The United States has invited Israel and the Palestinians to relaunch direct peace talks next month, though the parameters remain vague.
"On behalf of the United States government I've invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to meet on Sept. 2 to resolve all final status issues which we believe can be completed within one year," Hillary Rodham Clinton, the U.S. secretary of state, said in a conference call on Friday.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians are "very, very close," a U.S. State Department spokesman said, and Hillary Rodham Clinton is in constant telephone contact with the leaders.