Speaking to reporters aboard his plane bound for Israel as part of a Middle East tour, Panetta said it was crucial for Israel to shore up its relations with Egypt and other countries in the region that had proved valuable partners in the past.
“There’s not much question in my mind that they maintain that (military) edge. But the question you have to ask is it enough to maintain a military edge, if you’re isolating yourself in the diplomatic arena?” Panetta said.
“At this dramatic time in the Middle East, when there have been so many changes, it’s not a good situation for Israel to become increasingly isolated. And that’s what’s happening,” he said.
Panetta, who was due to meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders on Monday before heading to Read more…
By Amena Bakr and Mohamed Abdellah
CAIRO (Reuters) – Israel flew its ambassador home from Cairo on Saturday after protesters stormed its embassy building, plunging Egypt’s military rulers into their worst diplomatic crisis since they took over from Hosni Mubarak.
Three people were killed and 1,049 wounded in clashes between protesters and police, the Health Ministry said.
The United States, which has poured billions of dollars of military aid into Egypt since it made peace with Israel in 1979, urged Cairo to protect the embassy after protesters hurled embassy documents and the Read more…
Israel to negotiate using 1967 lines, with mutually agreed swaps, if Palestinians accept two states, one Palestinian and one Jewish.
With the Palestinians set to seek recognition of statehood at the UN in just a number of weeks, Israel said Tuesday it would be willing to accept the 1967 lines as a framework for talks as part of a package in which the Palestinians would recognize Jewish state.
Israeli officials said this framework would be a package deal whereby Israel would agree to entering negotiations using the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed upon swaps, as the baseline of talks; and the Palestinians would agree that the final goal of negotiations would be two states, a Palestinian one and Jewish one.
Israel raised the formula as officials from both parties, the US, EU and Russia are continuing to work on a document to provide a framework for a return to negotiations that could make a Palestinian bid at the UN superfluous.
According to this formulation, one official explained, each side would get something: The Palestinians would get the 1967 lines as the baseline, something they have long sought; and Israel would get Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.
Israel, according to the official, has made Read more…
Treated to standing ovations from US lawmakers just days after strained talks with President Barack Obama, Netanyahu said he was ready for “painful compromises.” But Palestinians swiftly rejected his list of conditions as unacceptable.
The right-wing Israeli leader’s speech to Congress capped a turbulent five-day visit to Washington that laid bare his differences with Obama on how to revive the moribund peace process and raised little hope for getting new talks off the ground any time soon.
Though Netanyahu recognized in the clearest terms yet that Israel would have to abandon some Jewish settlements built Read more…
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses Congress on Tuesday, many will be watching to see whether he escalates a war of words with the White House over how to make peace in the Middle East.
Netanyahu has a mostly sympathetic ear in Congress, where few lawmakers in either party speak up for the Palestinians, hewing to decades of Read more…
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Israel would be prepared to compromise and “cede parts of our homeland” for true peace with the Palestinians, but added that he did not believe the latter was ready to be a true partner for peace.
A Palestinian government that comprises representatives of Hamas, a movement that refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist, is not a government with which it would be possible to make peace, said Netanyahu.
|Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses Knesset, on May 16, 2011.|
|Photo by: Emil Salman|
Addressing the Knesset a day after an unprecedented wave of demonstrations marking Nakba Day, on which Palestinians annually protest the creation of the state of Israel, Netanyahu said Israel must stop blaming itself for the conflict and start looking at the “reality” of the situation with “open eyes”.
The root of conflict was not the absence of a Palestinian state, said Netanyahu, but Palestinian opposition to the creation of the State of Israel.
“This is not a conflict about 1967 but about 1948, when the state of Israel was established,” said Netanyahu. “The Palestinians call this a day of catastrophe, but their catastrophe is that their leadership has not succeeded in reaching a compromise. Still today, they don’t have a leadership Read more…
Jon Donnison in Ramallah: “Palestinians are feeling emboldened and inspired by the uprisings elsewhere [in the Middle East]”
Israeli forces have fired on groups of protesters at borders with the Palestinian territories, Syria and Lebanon.
Reports say that at least 12 people have died and dozens more have been injured.
In one incident, thousands of Palestinian supporters from Syria entered the Golan Heights, Israel says.
Palestinians are marking the Nakba or Catastrophe, their term for the founding of the Israeli state in 1948.
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were forced out of their homes in fighting after its creation.
Responding in a televised address to Sunday’s violence, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he hoped “calm and quiet will quickly return, but let nobody be mistaken, we are determined to defend our borders and sovereignty”.
Clashes have been taking place at four separate borders or crossing points – at Erez in Gaza, near Ramallah in the West Bank, on the Golan Read more…