End Times News Update
Sign: Covenant With Many (Mideast peace news)
Scripture: Daniel 9:27
News Source: My Way News
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Obama aims to salvage Mideast crisis aversion plan

Sep 20, 8:34 PM (ET)
By BRADLEY KLAPPER and MATTHEW LEE

NEW YORK (AP) – The U.S. and its allies changed tactics Tuesday on how
to avert a crisis over a Palestinian statehood bid, as the White House
announced that President Barack Obama would meet Palestinian leader
Mahmoud Abbas. At the same time, U.S. officials conceded they could
not stop Abbas from officially launching his case for the Security
Council’s approval of the statehood effort.

But they hoped to contain the fallout by urging Abbas not to push for
an actual vote in the Council, where the U.S. has promised a veto, to
give international peacemakers time to produce a statement that would
be the basis for resumed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Obama is expected to make a pro forma request to Abbas when they meet
Wednesday not to proceed with his initial plan, but also make the case
for the Palestinian leader to essentially drop the move for statehood
recognition after delivering his letter of intent to the U.N.,
expected Friday.

“The president will be able to say very directly why we believe that
action at the United Nations is not the way to achieve a Palestinian
state,” said Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security
adviser. He noted that Abbas has indicated his intent to go the
Security Council, but said Obama “has made it clear that we do not
believe that that will lead to a Palestinian state, that we oppose
such efforts.”

Obama will also meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on
Wednesday.

The new approach would see the “quartet” of Mideast peace mediators –
the U.S., European Union, United Nations and Russia – issue a
statement addressing both Palestinian and Israeli concerns and setting
a timetable for a return to the long-stalled peace talks, officials
said.

Israel would have to accept its pre-1967 borders with land exchanges
as the basis for a two-state solution, and the Palestinians would have
to recognize Israel’s Jewish character if they were to reach a deal
quickly, officials close to the talks said. The officials spoke on
condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing diplomacy.

European officials, supported by the United States, were presenting
the contours of a compromise agreement to the Israeli and Palestinian
governments, and asking for tough concessions from each. Officials
said several extremely challenging hurdles were leading to some
pessimism as to whether mediators would be able to bring Israel and
the Palestinians back to the negotiating table, with both sides being
pressed to accept positions they’ve long deemed anathema to their
visions of a two-state peace pact.

The difficult diplomacy reflected in some ways the intractability of a
dispute that has foiled would-be peacemakers for decades, even though
none of the actual elements of a final agreement was being discussed.

Quartet envoys met for a third straight day in New York to come up
with a formula that would lead to direct Israeli-Palestinian
negotiations. The goal is to reach a comprehensive agreement that
would address this week’s three major issues, officials said.

The Palestinians would be allowed to deliver their letter of request
Friday to the United Nations, but the Palestinians would not act on it
for a year or would withdraw it at a later point. That would allow
Abbas to save face and prevent an embarrassing defeat that might
empower his party’s rival faction, Hamas, which is considered a
terrorist group by Israel and the United States.

The Palestinians could also go to the U.N. General Assembly, where
they have overwhelming support, but would have to seek instead some
form of intermediate upgrade that would stop short of a full
recognition of statehood.

And the quartet, with Israel and the Palestinians’ advance approval,
would give the two sides a year to reach a framework agreement, based
on Obama’s vision of borders fashioned from Israel’s pre-1967
boundary, with agreed land swaps. The statement would also endorse the
idea of “two states for two peoples, Jewish and Palestinian,” which
would be a slightly amended version of Israel’s demand for recognition
specifically as a “Jewish state.”

So far, neither side seemed willing to make such a dramatic
concession, officials said. There was also some disagreement among the
quartet with Russia expressing its displeasure with a number of EU and
U.S. supported ideas, they said. And they cautioned that the agreement
could cause the same conundrum at next year’s U.N. General Assembly
meeting if talks fail to advance by then.

Obama met on Tuesday with Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan of
Turkey, once a close regional partner of Israel but lately an
increasingly vociferous critic, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham
Clinton discussed the Palestinian plan with Saudi Arabia’s foreign
minister.

In addition to international pressure, Obama was coming under fire
from leading Republican hopefuls over his handling of the Mideast
peace process.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Obama was part of the problem, criticizing
him for demanding concessions from Israel and claiming that the
president had emboldened the Palestinians to take their case to the
United Nations.

“We would not be here today at this very precipice of such a dangerous
move if the Obama policy in the Middle East wasn’t naive and arrogant,
misguided and dangerous,” Perry said in a speech in New York. “The
Obama policy of moral equivalency, which gives equal standing to the
grievances of Israelis and Palestinians, including the orchestrators
of terrorism, is a very dangerous insult.”

In a statement before Perry spoke, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt
Romney also waded into the dispute and called the jockeying at the
United Nations this week “an unmitigated disaster.” He accused Obama’s
administration of “repeated efforts over three years to throw Israel
under the bus and undermine its negotiating position.”

In Congress, Republicans and Democrats expressed their opposition to
the Palestinian effort and implored world leaders to vote against any
U.N. resolution. Leading Senate voices on foreign policy have written
to Latin American and African governments asking that they oppose the
Palestinian action, and warning the Palestinians that they could lose
millions of dollars in U.S. aid.

“U.S. foreign assistance is not an entitlement,” Sen. Bob Menendez,
D-N.J., said. “Assistance is not automatic.”

Associated Press writers Ben Feller and Beth Fouhy in New York and
Donna Cassata in Washington contributed to this report.

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