The US envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, appeared today to have failed to win an agreement from Israel on a halt to settlement construction in the Palestinian territories.
A deal would have laid the foundations for a meeting planned for next week at the UN in New York between President Barack Obama, the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. That now seems less likely to go ahead.
The New York meeting would have restarted peace talks between the two sides for the first time in nearly a year, and would have been the first such Middle East negotiations under the Obama administration. [continued…]
Aargeted boycott of Israeli goods originating from illegal settlements agreed by the TUC [the Trades Union Congress which leads Britain’s labor movement] today to step up the pressure “for an end to the occupation of Palestinian territories” was described by Israel as a “slap in the face” for those seeking peace in the Middle East.
Hugh Lanning, chairman of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, described the TUC move as a “landmark” decision which followed a wave of motions passed at individual union conferences this year because of “outrage” at Israel’s “brutal war” on Gaza.
But the Israeli embassy rounded on the “reckless” commitment to a boycott passed at the TUC congress following protracted behind-the-scenes disputes. [continued…]