'US tone more positive since talks'

Officials in J'lem say White House pushing for direct negotiations.

May 13, 2010 08:34
2 minute read.
Barack Obama.

Barack Obama.. (photo credit: Associated Press)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


WASHINGTON – With long-awaited proximity talks finally under way between Israelis and Palestinians, Israeli officials are detecting a warmer tone coming from Washington.

The talks follow weeks of deep tension between the US and Israel over disagreements on the nature of the negotiations and what Israeli gestures were needed to get the Palestinians on board.

During that time, the US made clear its displeasure over Israeli actions – notably the announcement of more construction in Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem – while Israel felt it was being blamed more than Palestinians for the stalemate, when it was the latter who were refusing to come to the table.

But with the launch of talks this past week, Israeli officials said Wednesday that the mood had brightened, with a positive phone call between US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last Monday and follow-up with US Middle East envoy George Mitchell after that.

At the same time, they pointed to a tougher line that the administration seemed to be taking with the Palestinians, pushing harder against incitement and calling for the indirect talks to move quickly to face-to-face negotiations.

That message was one Obama stressed Tuesday in a phone conversation with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Despite talks having finally begun, differences remain regarding what each party is looking to get out of them, with Palestinians expected to focus on final-status issues like Jerusalem and borders, and Israel preferring to start with environmental and economic issues.

Mitchell is due back in the region over Shavuot to hold another round of talks with Israelis and Palestinians. But it hasn’t been made clear how he will manage the differing agendas of the two sides or to what degree he’ll present American proposals to resolve any impasses. It also hasn’t been clarified what means the US will employ to hold the two sides accountable, as Mitchell warned would happen in announcing the launch of talks, and as Obama reiterated to Abbas during their phone call Tuesday.

Obama will also have a chance to talk directly with Abbas in the near future, as he extended an invitation for the Palestinian leader to visit the White House during the call. The visit will be watched carefully, after Netanyahu met with Obama in March under a total media blackout without so much as the release of an official photo.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Jisr az-Zarq
April 3, 2014
Residents of Jisr az-Zarqa beckon Israel Trail hikers to enjoy their town


Cookie Settings