Lieberman expects 'proximity talks’ within two weeks
Obama with Abbas US President Barack Obama told Palestinian Authority chariman Mahmoud Abbas that he was committed to creating a sovereign Palestinian state within two years and would make great efforts to achieve that goal, an Egyptian official told the Arabic-language daily Al-Hayat on Thursday. The official also claimed Israel had rejected special US envoy George Mitchell's proposal that the IDF withdraw to its pre-intifada positions of September 2000. Instead, Israel offered other goodwill gestures, such as removing checkpoints and releasing certain Palestinian prisoners. Meantime, the US brokered “proximity talks” between Israel and the PA will begin within two weeks, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman estimated on Thursday. Lieberman added, however, that the Palestinians’ recent conduct has been non-conducive to peace. “It’s unreasonable to talk about peace while at the same time perpetuating terror by naming town squares after bloodthirsty terrorists,” he said. Vice Premier Silvan Shalom also affirmed today that Israel was nearing renewed peace talks with the Palestinians, and that the time had come for Abbas to make the strategic decision to return to the negotiating table. Shalom also stressed the importance of ending the Palestinian method of appealing to the US. "If they want peace, they will find the Israeli government ready for true peace,” he said.