The Palestine negotiations

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With peace talks due to begin the Israeli cabinet is reported to have authorised extra subsidies for a number of Jewish settlements, including three formerly classified as "illegal outposts" that were recognised last year, Bruchin, Rachelim and Sansana. Hanan Ashrawi of the PLO described the move today 4 August as a confidence-destruction measure. The Prime Minister's spokesman Mark …

Gaza: primed to explode

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Recent political developments have greatly complicated the situation in Gaza, controlled by Hamas. Hamas has long been viewed as part of a "rejection front", a Sunni partner in tactical and political alliance with Iran and Hizbullah, and in a fuller and more natural partnership with the Muslim Brotherhood. Muslim Brotherhood ascendancy in Egypt seemed to offer new …

Palestine: blood, sweat and Indyk

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One week after the announcement by John Kerry that Saeb Erekat and Tzipi Livni "will be joining me in Washington to begin initial talks within the next week or so" neither appears to have commented. The Israeli Minister of energy and water Silvan Shalom said on 25 July "As I understand, today, I think that the …

Kerry announces talks

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The US Secretary of State John Kerry announced on 19 July as he concluded his sixth quickfire visit to the region that “we have reached an agreement that establishes a basis for resuming direct final status negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis…If everything goes as expected, Saeb Erekat and Tzipi Livni, Minister Livni, and Isaac Molho [an Israeli lawyer, Netanyahu’s envoy for peace talks] will be joining me in Washington to begin initial talks within the next week or so”. This follows a three-year period during which …

Jordan: the impact of Egypt

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Well over half a million refugees from Syria are placing an enormous burden on Jordan’s resources. This follows the impact of refugees from Iraq after the 2003 invasion, reportedly about three quarters of a million (Jordan’s population is just over 6 million). Events in Egypt have had no such physical impact, but the political impact …

Sinai

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The peninsula, largely desert and containing areas of impassable mountains, separates Egypt of the Nile Valley from the countries of the Levant. It is Egyptian territory and has a population of about half a million, largely Bedouin tribes. On the eastern side it borders Israel and Gaza. The southern part of the peninsula, physically divided by desert and mountains from the North, has become a major tourist destination containing both biblical Mount and Saint Catherine’s monastery and the seaside resorts around Sharm al-Shaikh. Northern has long been an …