December 8, 2010

Israelis, Palestinians, Allies Battle for Perceptions

"There is no doubt that there is a crisis. We hope that the time will soon come when the EU will play a role alongside the United States."

- Acting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

"The freeze was seen as a mechanism to help bring forward the peace agreement. Unfortunately, that proved to be dysfunctional. So, now we've got to find another mechanism by which to move forward and achieve a historic peace agreement. We think it's doable."

- Mark Regev, spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

"If the US, being the only country that is monopolizing control of the talks, is failing to pressure Israel to abide by what was written in the road map and what the international community demands - which a complete freeze to settlement activities - then there is no peace process and the reason for this is Israel... I don't think there is any value to more talks in Washington. Now they are talking again about proximity talks, this is a funny thing after having direct talks."

"There is a great disappointment here because there were lots of hopes after President Obama made his speech in Cairo. The fact that the United States President, the head of the only superpower in the world is incapable of making Israel come to mind and stop its violation of international law is definitely an alarming sign."

Mustafa Barghouti, leading alternate candidate to Abbas

"We said from the outset that settlements were not the root of the conflict and that it was only a Palestinian excuse for refusing to talk.”

- Nir Hefetz, another of Netanyahu’s spokesmen, welcoming the current state of events

"If you cannot have him stop settlements for a few months, what do you expect get out of him on Jerusalem or the 1967 borders. I think Mr. Netanyahu knows the consequences for the American administration's credibility in the region.''

- Saeb Erekat, lead Palestinian negotiator

"We continue to pursue a framework agreement on the permanent status issues. We continue to believe that, in order to resolve those core issues, direct negotiations will be required. And we will be consulting with the parties on the best way to achieve that share goal... We're shifting our approach, but we're still focused on the goal of a framework agreement within a year, and we believe that's still achievable."

- State Department Spokesman Philip Crowley

"The Egyptian view is as follows: Let's agree on an end game. The end game is that the international community, the Quartet -- the Americans, the European Union, the Russian federation as well as the United Nations -- would agree on parameters for the settlement (between the Israelis and Palestinians).”

- Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit

America and Israel have nowhere to go on their island - but will they come peacefully? We'll know a little more after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks Friday at the Brookings Institution in Washington. Not much though. A beaming Clinton expected a breakthrough in September.

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