Archive for Gordon Brown

US and Israel seek settlements plan

Posted in Everyday life in the West Bank, History, International community, Israel, Israeli occupation, Israeli politics, Palestine, Peace process, USA foreign policy, West Bank with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 27/08/2009 by 3071km

Date Published: 27 August 2009

Source: Al Jazeera English
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Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has said progress is being made towards restarting peace talks with the Palestinians.

His comments came after talks in London with George Mitchell, the Obama administration’s Middle East envoy, which both described as “very productive”.

During four hours of talks the two discussed the issue of Israeli settlements as a major hurdle to the peace process.

A joint statement released after the meeting said an Israeli delegation would visit the US next week to follow up on the talks, although it did not elaborate on any measures Mitchell and Netanyahu may have agreed to.

According to the statement the two parties “agreed on the importance of restarting meaningful negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians and working toward a comprehensive peace, and that all sides need to take concrete steps toward peace.”

However, Israel has resisted calls from Barack Obama, the US president, to freeze settlement building on occupied Palestinian land.

A freeze is key to the resumption of peace talks, and Israel’s reluctance to budge on the issue has led to a rare rift in US-Israeli relations.

Iran ‘deal’

Mitchell has been pressing Israel to halt construction as a confidence-building gesture to the Palestinians.

According to some media reports he was expected to offer Netanyahu a tougher US line on Iran’s nuclear programme in return for Israel partially freezing settlement building.

Britain’s The Guardian newspaper reported that the US, along with Britain and France, is planning to push the UN to include Iran’s oil and gas industry in sanctions against the country, a move that could cripple its economy.

An Israeli delegation is due to meet Mitchell next week in the US to continue the talks.

Alastair Crooke, a Middle East analyst who has worked with Mitchell, told Al Jazeera: “I’m sure that Mitchell doesn’t want to get stuck in this single issue for the next month, because the Americans have a deadline.

“They are really keen to get progress on the Palestinian issue before they leave Iraq in the interests of Israeli security.”

After meeting Mitchell in London, Netanyahu, who is on a four-day European tour, flew to Berlin where he met Horst Koehler, the German president, ahead of talks with Angela Merkel, the German chancellor.

Abbas ‘meeting’

Following the talks in London, Mark Regev, an Israeli spokesman, said an agreement with Washington which would allow peace talks to resume could come within weeks.

“The goal is to find common ground with the American administration … on a framework that will allow the restarting of an energised peace process,” he said.

“For that process to be meaningful, the Arab world has to be part of it.”

Israeli media reports have suggested that Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, will meet Netanyahu on the sidelines of next month’s meeting of the United Nations in New York.

In Jerusalem, a senior Palestinian official, said: “No one, neither from the Israelis nor from the United States contacted us for such a meeting but it could happen as a meeting but not as holding negotiations.

“What counts is to hold negotiations.”

Peace talks

Settlements in the West Bank, which Palestinians want for a future state, are home to 300,000 Israelis, and around 2.5million Palestinians.

Obama has said he opposes all settlement construction, while Abbas has staunchly refused to reopen peace talks until Netanyahu halts all settlement activity.

A survey released on Wednesday showed freezing settlements would be an unpopular move among Jewish Israelis, with almost two-thirds of those questioned by the Maagar Mohot polling company saying they opposed the move.

Netanyahu has said he sees the emphasis on settlements as unfair, and insisted conflict in the Middle East is rooted in Arab enmity towards Israel.

Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst, said that a settlement agreement is indispensible to a peace deal because it prevents a “Palestinian independent contiguous state from emerging”.

However, he said that there had been little progress in Wednesday’s meeting.

“After nine months of telling Israel that they must stop the settlements, an entire government telling the American envoy in London today that they won’t stop the settlement building within the settlements. That is a failure of a meeting.”

On Tuesday, Netanyahu said that his government was unwilling to negotiate on the status of Jerusalem as a joint Israel-Palestinian capital.

Speaking in London at his meeting with Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, he had also said that any peace talks with the Palestinians would have to cover the issue of a “demilitarised Palestine”, as well as illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Netanyahu greeted by angry protestors in London

Posted in Activism, International community, Israel, Israeli occupation, Israeli politics, Palestine, Pictures with tags , , , , , on 25/08/2009 by 3071km

Date published: 25 August 2009

Source: Press TV

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British police have heightened security outside the premiers’ office as hundreds of demonstrators protested the Israeli prime minister’s visit to the country.

Hundreds of people attended the demonstration on Tuesday to protest the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands as UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown held a meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu in London.

The rally began about 30 minutes prior to Netanyahu’s arrival at Brown’s office on Tuesday, Ynet reported.

The demonstrators were protesting ‘the occupation,’ waving Palestinian flags, and signs reading ‘Stop the siege on Gaza,’ ‘Free Palestine,’ and ‘Stop Israel detonators’ and hollered slogans like “Netanyahu’s a war criminal.”

Based on the report, at some point, several demonstrators tried breaching the secured perimeter outside Brown’s office, but were stopped by British police.

Netanyahu arrived in London on Monday for two days of meetings with Brown and US Mideast mediator George Mitchell.

After the meeting the two premiers attended a press conference during which Brown said the demand to halt settlement construction remains in place.

Netanyahu however said Jerusalem “is not a settlement. It is the sovereign capital of the State of Israel. We have been building in Jerusalem for 3,000 years.”

The status of Jerusalem has been among the thorny issues in the stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, with the Israelis claiming the city as their “eternal, undivided capital”– a position not recognized by the international community.

SB/MD

London 25/08: emergency protest against B. Netanyahu

Posted in Activism, International community, Palestine, West Bank with tags , , , , , on 24/08/2009 by 3071km

E-mail received: 24 August 2009

Source: Viva Palestina

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EMERGENCY PROTEST AGAINST BENJAMIN NETANYAHU TUESDAY 25 AUGUST 1.30pm to 3.00pm DOWNING STREET

Gordon Brown is meeting with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu tomorrow Tuesday 25 August in Downing Street.

An emergency protest has been called for 1.30 opposite Downing Street (nearest tube Westminster).

Netanyahu makes little secret of his intention to expand Israeli settlements on the West Bank and tighten the noose on the Palestinian people. In his last term of office he was responsible for a series of war crimes and countless violations of international law.

Please spread the word about tomorrow’s emergency protest as widely as possible.

Please come to send a clear message to Gordon Brown:
# Israeli settlements block peace – they must be dismantled, not just frozen
# End Israel’s siege on Gaza
# End Israel’s ethnic cleansing in East Jerusalem

If you are unable to come to the protest, write to Gordon Brown to insist that real peace means delivering justice for the Palestinians. The British government must act to ensure Israel ends its numerous violations of international law.

# Fax a letter to 10 Downing Street : 020 7925 0918.
# Email David Miliband at the Foreign Office reaquesting his office convey your message to the Prime Minister: msu.correspondence@fco.gov.uk