Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Special Envoy George Mitchell in a trilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the Secretary’s Office on Thursday. (PHOTO CREDIT: State Department Official Photograph)
Washington (CNN) – President Obama's Middle East peace initiative this week has led to promises of a second round of negotiations on September 14-15, but CNN has learned that Israeli and Palestinian officials are also privately discussing the possibility of a third round of talks as early as later this month.
Two senior officials close to the talks said Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are already discussing a possible third round of talks because both sides are concerned about the impact of Israel's 10-month moratorium on Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank that expires on September 26th.
The goal is to pick up some momentum coming out of the September 14-15 talks, which Obama's Special Middle East Envoy George Mitchell announced Thursday in Washington after the first direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials in nearly two years.
While Mitchell did not announce a location for the second round of talks on Sept. 14, officials close to the talks have told CNN those sessions are likely to be hosted in Egypt by President Hosni Mubarak.
The point of a third round of talks coming before the September 26 moratorium expires would be to try and prevent a quick and dramatic failure so early in the process if the settlement issue boils over.
"We need as many meetings as possible to build trust," said one of the officials close to the talks.
The significance is that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has declared that the peace negotiations will end if Israel does not extend the freeze, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under great pressure from conservatives within his country who want to end the moratorium on settlement construction.
Mitchell said Thursday that Abbas and Netanyahu are planning to start meeting every two weeks to try and get a peace deal signed within one year. But that timetable means that a third round of talks would likely occur after the September 26 moratorium expires, so officials are trying to see if there is a way to meet again just a few days before then.
One possible venue for a third round of talks would be the United Nations General Assembly meetings in New York, which are scheduled to run from September 20 through September 24. Abbas and Netanyahu are expected to attend those meetings for normal business, and it's worth noting that last September Obama pulled together a trilateral meeting with Abbas and Netanyahu on the sidelines of the UN meetings.
And the best part? Most of the people lamely criticizing how Obama decorated the Oval Office...as if it matters one teensy bit in the grand scheme of things...probably have a 1980-something Chevy Nova painted in primer sitting on cinder blocks in their front yard.
Have you guys read the news today and yesterday?
As (again) the USA are trying to help to bring peace to the territory of a valuable ally and friendly country (Israel), those who lives in Israel (and its occupied territories) and don't want neither 'peace' nor 'coexistence' are yelling to the world: 'We don't want it!!!'...
Two or three shootings againts Jewish targets...
Those far-right extremists are up to keep on building more and more on the lands that they don't care if the world says doesn't belongs to Israel. It doesn't, since it belongs to THEM and not to a state most of them do not recognize...
Radicals of both sides are up to their old schemes...
Isreali will attack Iran's nuclear sites and when it does talks will end and this administration will look foolish. Take care of the Economy first, Iran second and then tackle the arab/isreali conflict...
I suppose the Republicans will find something to criticize, even though it's the most progress that has been made since the Clinton administration. At this point, just talking about a 3rd meeting is real progress.
If we leave Israel out of our dealings w/ Iran then Israel has to implement another means of co-existing w/ the Palistinians. As it stands now, they (Israel) has a free hand to do whatever they want and label it self perseverance. If one talks negatively towards Israel its considered a threat w/ a life and death response from Israel. If we progress our foreign policy favoring the foreign state that limits military incursions against neighbors, we hav a basis increased dialogue in our interest. Don't see how selling F-22's to Israel will do that.
Is there no end to how much of our money, big and small, that this guy can waste ?
Thank you Mr. President. Stay strong!
Of course, the Conservatives will criticize, its what they do. Every president in recent history has attempted to bring these two sides together to ease tensions, and ......... safe the world from nuclear holocaust. Because in all honesty, Israel would have no trouble nuking one of their neighbors even if it meant their own death!
A president cannot simply handle one problem at a time, he needs to deal with all the problems each and every day.
"Blessed are the peacemakers they shall be called children of God." ~ Jesus
Here we go again ! There goes another 50 billion dollar loan to Israel.
ZERO percent interest, NO principal ! And right after the US Elections, "cannot be paid". Not to mention the 3 billion the Isael gets (with no questions asked), so they can spend on "their"-"Candidates" in every US election. Oh no, not again they are going to meet every 2 weeks ! Just like they did last time ! Yes, and the time before that, and of course the time before that. And ! the time before that and " You Got Iit !!! " the time before that ! etc. After the 6 month (or sooner) they will break down. Who is kidding Whom here ! Of course the "attention span" of the "average American" is the time between commercials, or between "laughs" on those "retarded" night talk shows, that CNN reports like so much ! :)
Sounds encouraging. What has been said earlier though needs to be discussed, Hamas needs to be included. Palestinians are divided, or so it seems. Hamas keeps threatening Israel civilians. Someone needs to put a leash on this wild bunch or they will get their desire for more innocent blood shed. People in this area of the world have been fighting each other since biblical times. One would think they would all get tired of it.
Wow, not thats an office that needs to be remodeled...jeez!!!
It's all about how serious Israel is about coming to terms with what they did to the Palestinians. When they are ready peace can happen. Instead they want to spend all their efforts making themselves out to be the victims when it was Israel that took Palestine, not the other way around.
Are they eating cookies from the tax that I paid last year....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Isn't it funny how the Palestinians who have refused for two years to speak to Israel directly have suddenly agreed just before our mid-term elections. Call me paranoid?
Mr. President. DON'T let these guys go home until an agreement is reached.
I donot think there will ever be peace between thw Palestians and Israel. Neither side is truly committed to the peace process.
Clinton and Mitchell are a force to be dealt with, both know their jobs and do it well. Israel and Palestine leaders must understand, failure is not an option.
Let's see, this administration has failed on every front over the last 19 months so they're trying to accomplish something...ANYTHING that would make them look like they have actually done something positive! Furthermore, since the bar is set so incredibly low in accomplishing something positive betwenn the Israelis and the Palestinians, if they fail it won't come unexpectedly. Of course if they can get (complete with American taxpayer dollars as an "insentive") make a small step forward, they'll play it up gigantically. However, what this President fails to grasp is that a country with double-digit unemployment is much more concerned for our economic problems than Middle East diplomacy!
This is sick! Those are three highly respected men from the Middle East and one meddling female trainee from the US...
Read The Vanity Fair article About Palin . . . Not only is she a grifter con artist but she . . .
And what will they criticize about this????
Show the world how far we have evolved,live in peace. Peace cares not what religion one believes,color of skin,or sex. If these two countries can do this they will be the example for all ,and maybe just maybe we can use our resources for something other than feed the war machine.
Talking is better than bombing. Let's hope they keep talking.
The best way to defeat Hamas' terrorists is to not let them derail progress to peace. Palestinians themselves will turn against Hamas if they see that peace can be achieved through diplomacy.
A few interesting facts: 50% of our governmental foreign aid goes to one country: Israel. They use most of that money to buy weapons from us. I.e. 'foreign aid' is just a clever scheme to channel your tax dollars to private weapon manufacturing corporations. In turn, we also sell weapons to arab states (remember the controversy of our sales to Saud Arabia under Bush Jr.?) so they can also shore up their 'defense' against Israel. Yay for making weapons manufacturers rich! And if hundreds of people die as a result of it each year... well, it's just free market capitalism exercising its God given place above the worth of human life.
All this for a country whose total population (about 8 million) is less than that of New York City.