October 13th, 2009
02:19 PM ET
13 years ago

Israeli, Palestinian negotiators heading to Washington for talks

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will soon be heading to Washington to discuss the stalled peace process, the U.S. State Department said Tuesday.

The Israeli team is scheduled to arrive on Thursday and the Palestinian negotiators will arrive next week, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said.

The Israeli team will be led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's advisers Yitzhak Molcho and Mike Hertzog, the prime minister's office said Sunday.

Top U.S. envoy to the region George Mitchell invited both sides to Washington during his weekend discussions with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

It is unclear who will represent the Palestinian side.

Mitchell met for a second time with Netanyahu on Sunday, after "useful and constructive" talks on Friday, Netanyahu's office said. He also met with Palestinian leaders in the West Bank, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Mitchell returned to the region last week to advocate peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, but significant obstacles remain.

It's his first visit to the region since Obama met with Netanyahu and Abbas in New York in September - a discussion that ended with a failure to get the two sides to agree on peace talks.

Abbas has said the Palestinians will not return to negotiations until Israel freezes construction in settlements in the West Bank and stops building in East Jerusalem. The United States has pressured Israel to do that, but Netanyahu's government has declined, saying instead that it will limit construction in the West Bank and continue to build in East Jerusalem.

Persuading Abbas to relent on his demand for a freeze on settlements, meanwhile, may be much harder now than it was just weeks ago. That's because of a controversial decision by the Palestinian Authority to defer action on the United Nations' Goldstone report that criticized Israel and Hamas for committing war crimes during its six-week military offensive in Gaza. About 1,000 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed during the offensive in December and January.

Many Palestinians have rebuked Abbas and his Fatah-affiliated Palestinian Authority for its decision. Hamas, the rival Palestinian faction that controls Gaza, has called it treason. The criticism has weakened Abbas politically and made it harder for him to back down on his insistence that Israel stop building settlements before Palestinians return to the negotiating table.

Mitchell made a similar trip to the region in mid-September, spending a week talking to Netanyahu and Abbas in hopes of brokering a deal ahead of their meetings with Obama.

Filed under: Israel • State Department
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Cindy

    Awesome job, Mr. Mitchell, Israel and Palestine! Don't give up! The world is depending on you!

    October 13, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  2. yuri

    One can only hope that something peaceful happens out of this meeting. Middle east has always been like a volcano erupting all the time.

    October 13, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  3. B

    Great !! We may finally see some real progress with Obamas willingness to talk to people without the mindless threats as the- tough guy moron- Bush.

    October 13, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  4. Peter s

    Peace is within reach! seek and you will find it!!

    October 13, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  5. Jorge Gonzalez

    What a waste of time and money. You would think this was some divine law outlined in the Bible that the United States has the responsibility to bring about peace in the Middle East (esp. Israel/Palestine). Not only is the amount of aid given to Israel astronomical, the amount we give its neighbors for appeasement is highway robbery. Philosophically, I believe nothing is permanent, but I am beginning to believe that peace in the middle east will never happen. Instead of a fence through Jerusalem maybe we should fence in all of the Jewish/Palestinian territory. But I guess fighting over mythologies is a human failure.

    October 13, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  6. ran

    With PM Nitanyahu not much is going to happen. Why they keep putting him in as PM is beyond me.

    They really need to get some fresh blood into their politics. I think the female, who almost won, would have been much better then Nitanyahu.

    October 13, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  7. Obama 2.0

    Get it done!

    October 13, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. T'SAH from Virginia

    Hm, umh, it's all going to come together at once. Before you know it, the HATERS in this country are going to look VERY STUPID as they SHOUT OUT their hatred to know one other than themselves!!!!

    While ya'll are bull-crapping and hating America because an African American is trying to move the WORLD towards PEACE, YOU stand out to the WORLD with the BIG L on your foreheads… Wow, isn’t it lonely out on the limb with no one to talk to??!!!

    GO OBAMA!!

    October 13, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. Dylan from MN

    Stop Building in East Jerusalem! Put your ego aside and stop! This isn't about just Jerusalem and Palestine, it's about the East v. the West, this could link us together...it could show that we are not that much different and in fact we can be friends and neighbors.

    October 13, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  10. JP

    We need to do an X-ray on Obama and see where his backbone went. Obama was right when he demanded that Israel stop building illegal settlsments on stolen land. I guess AIPAC got to his balls does his voice sound higher?

    October 13, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  11. RRRUSA

    Will Liz Cheney's new group 'Keep America Safe' show up and try to stop the negotiators? "How dare these people try and make peace on OUR turf? How weak is Obama to try and get Israel and the Palestinians to make peace?"

    It is so ironic and unintelligent to attack a President for the very thing he just won the Nobel Prize for!
    I applaud the President for getting these sides together! I applaud Israel and Gaza for trying tio end this wasteful strife where no one wins except the arms dealers.
    The GOP seems to have the attitude that 'too much peace is bad for business!!'

    October 13, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  12. landshark

    Send them away..................... bring our troops home!

    October 13, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  13. Randolph Carter

    Why can't they just settle their differences with a round of rock, paper, scissors, like civilized people? Have a nice day!

    October 13, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  14. Beer?

    Maybe they will sit around and drink a beer at the whitehouse.Seems this is all it takes to cure world conflicts.

    October 13, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  15. Timothy O'Lairn

    ...just one big waste of a lot of people's time. There will never be peace between Israel and the Arabs (the Bible says so, and no one on this earth can change that, even The Promised One). A lot of talk and 'hope' for peace and safety and ..."swift and sudden destruction...". Check it out for yourselves. Oh, I know– you don't believe Almighty God, you only believe your The Promised One.

    October 13, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  16. W l Jones

    One cross ecomony better than none...

    October 13, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  17. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    Israel simply needs to abide by UN Resolution 242 they have disregarded since 1967, finally accept the Saudi Peace Accord that gives them full recognition by Arab states, and the matter will be settled. If Israel is a safe homeland for Jewish people as was intended, they will do both. But if they are a theocracy driven by Zionism and its attendant expansionist requirements and subsequent continued thefts and occupation of other people's lands, they will not. The U.S. needs to stop giving Israel unconditional military and financial support as long as they as they remain the archetypal "rogue nation" driven by religious fanaticism.

    October 13, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |