KEY parties have expressed optimism that the Middle East peace process may be about to resume, amid reports that US President Barack Obama is preparing to announce a deal.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and officials in the US all said yesterday that a resumption of peace talks was near.
Mr Netanyahu said he had a "winning formula" that would satisfy US demands over Jewish settlements on the West Bank but allow settlements to continue. He was speaking in London after meeting Mr Brown, who repeated his call for a halt to settlement activity but also expressed optimism.
Describing Mr Netanyahu as "a courageous leader", Mr Brown said he had told Mr Netanyahu that settlement activity was "a barrier to a two-state solution".
Mr Netanyahu said after the talks: "What we are trying to achieve with the US is to find a bridging formula to enable us to launch the process but enable those residents (of the West Bank) to continue to lead normal lives. They need kindergartens and houses for their families. This is very different from grabbing land. I made clear that we are not going to expropriate new land."
Mr Netanyahu repeated his position that Jerusalem would not be part of any negotiation.
"Jerusalem is not a settlement and Israel will not accept constraints on its sovereignty there."
Briefing reporters travelling with him, Mr Netanyahu said "the question of the settlements is a problem, but the main problem is the (Palestinian) refusal to recognise Israel as the Jewish state." Read more here ...
Source: The Australian