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Israel offers direct talks with the Palestinians

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Israel offers direct talks with the Palestinians


The diplomatic crisis precipitated by President Mahmoud Abbas over Palestinian statehood appears to have forced Israel onto the back foot.

Abbas’ intention to call for full UN membership despite opposition by both Israel and the US has provoked an invitation for renewed direct talks from Israel’s Prime Minister. The US has said it will veto the Palestinian move.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is one of those holding last minute talks to persuade the Palestinians not to proceed. “We continue to believe and are pressing the point that the only way to a two state solution – which is what we support and want to see happen – is through negotiations. And no matter what does or doesn’t happen this week it will not produce the kind of outcome that everyone is hoping for,” she said.

Abbas is risking much with his strategy: failure to deliver could threaten his own fragile government and residents in Ramallah are less than confident he will really move things forward. While some are hoping the UN will accept the statehood bid, others are concerned.

Several US congressmen have threatened to cut Palestinian aid if Israel’s position is ignored.

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