Thursday, May 28, 2009


From Reuters, Wed May 27, 2009, by Jeffrey Heller:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on the eve of a White House visit by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that Palestinians must also be pressed to meet commitments under a U.S.-backed peace plan.

Pledging to honor Israel's international agreements, which include a 2003 peace "road map" with the Palestinians, Netanyahu said, "We want an end to the conflict and we want reciprocity in the demands made of both sides, and in carrying them out."

...Netanyahu has demanded Abbas' Palestinian Authority meet its commitments under the road map, including a crackdown on militants -- a task complicated by the 2007 takeover of the Gaza Strip by Hamas Islamists.

...Underscoring some common ground with Obama, who is to make a June 4 speech in Egypt to the Muslim world, Netanyahu called in parliament for Arab countries to "join the peace effort."

The Israeli leader has proposed shifting the focus of currently suspended peace talks with the Palestinians from difficult territorial issues he said have stymied progress to improving economic, security and political relations.

..."We are prepared to take, and we will take, concrete steps toward peace with the Palestinians. We also expect the Palestinians to take concrete steps," Netanyahu said. A statement issued by the prime minister's office said Netanyahu convened a ministerial committee earlier in the day to discuss ways to "improve the situation of Palestinian residents" in the West Bank. Netanyahu told the committee it would soon be asked to examine several economic projects that would benefit the Palestinians and that Israel would seek international funding for the initiatives.
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