The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

February 7, 2013

Palestinian officials urge Obama to push for peace



RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Palestinian officials said Thursday they hope President Barack Obama's upcoming visit to the region signals readiness to re-engage in Mideast peace efforts, but that negotiations can only resume if Washington is ready to get tough with Israel.

The Palestinians have long been anxious for the U.S. to revive serious talks with Israel. Their expectations were dampened following a White House statement that Obama will not pursue any new peace initiatives on his visit, expected in late March.

Jibril Rajoub, a former Palestinian security chief and prominent West Bank official, told Israel's Army Radio that Washington is the only one that can "build a bridge of trust" between the two sides.

"If there is anyone who can press the Israelis to change their attitude, it's the American president," Rajoub, speaking Hebrew, said Thursday. "I see his visit as important. We all need it. I hope something will come of it."

Peace talks between the two sides collapsed in 2008. Palestinians refuse to negotiate until Israel stops building settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, areas they want for a future state.

Israel has refused to halt settlement construction in the two areas, which it captured in the 1967 Mideast war, saying there should be no preconditions for talks.

Under heavy U.S. pressure, Israel agreed to a temporary slowdown in building that helped Obama to restart talks in 2010. But those negotiations collapsed after several weeks when the Israeli moratorium expired.

The Palestinians hope to establish an independent state in all territories captured by Israel in 1967, a position widely backed by the international community. Netanyahu opposes a return to the 1967 lines.

Given the wide gaps between Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, talks have remained at a standstill and the U.S. has remained largely on the sidelines.

Text Only
State and Nation
Photos


Poll

Do you believe America will ever make another manned flight to the moon or another planet?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee