New US plan sees Palestinian state in 2012 but Israel wary
The latest US proposal for peace between Israel and Palestinians envisions a Palestinian state in two years, according to Egyptian officials. US Middle East envoy George Mitchell is expected to visit in the coming weeks.
The latest US proposal for Middle East peace envisions a Palestinian state within two years, according to Egyptian officials cited in a report Monday – a goal immediately dismissed by Israel as unrealistic.Skip to next paragraph
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The report came amid a flurry of shuttle diplomacy ahead of the visit soon by George Mitchell, US President Barack Obama's special envoy to the Middle East. Mr. Mitchell is expected to push for a restart of stalled talks between Israelis and Palestinians. After a disappointing 2009 the Obama Administration is expected to recommit itself to resolving a conflict that has defied diplomatic solutions for decades.
As part of the plan, both Israel and the Palestinians would present written guarantees underlining their obligations prior to the completion of final-status talks, an Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson told Al-Ahram.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is meeting his Egyptian counterpart, Hosni Mubarak, in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh on Monday to discuss Israel's latest offers to renew talks with the Palestinian Authority.
The meeting comes in the wake of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Cairo last week, where he presented some ideas for jump-starting the diplomatic process.
But the Israeli foreign minister immediately poured cold water on a two-year timetable for a peace deal, saying it was "not a realistic goal," according to Ha'aretz.
"We need to begin direct talks without committing to any timeframe." ... "In the past, timetables were set and not met and this led to violence," [Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor] Lieberman said.
The diplomatic buzz comes as activists mark the one-year anniversary of Israel's invasion of Gaza, which left 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers dead.
In recent days, the Egyptian government has opened a border crossing to the Gaza Strip, and allowed in more than a hundred foreign pro-Palestinian activists, many from France, Reuters reported.