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After two years of silence, a new round of Middle East peace talks began on September 2 between Israel and Palestine. The initial meetings were hosted in Washington by United States President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Also in attendance were Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, King Abdullah II of Jordan and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
During the meeting, participants emphasized creating a “framework agreement” to resolve difficult issues such as disputed borders, security, the political status of Jerusalem, the building of Israeli settlements and Palestinian refugees’ rights.
Many roadblocks threaten to derail the process. On August 31, the evening prior to the leaders’ arrivals in Washington, Hamas gunmen claimed responsibility for shooting four West Bank Israeli settlers in their car.
Due to the continuous violence and repeated failed attempts to broker peace, government representatives are unconvinced the process will succeed.
BBC News reported that Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who lives in the West Bank, stated on army radio, “I do not believe that a comprehensive agreement with the Palestinians is possible within a year, nor even during the next generation.”