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Ban arrived in Ramallah a day after the Quartet called for Israel to halt all settlement construction and for a peace deal with the Palestinians by 2012. "The Quartet has sent a clear and strong message: we are strongly supporting your efforts to establish an independent and viable Palestinian state," he told Fayyad ahead of formal talks
Fayyad's plan is based on the assumption that the US will recognize the Palestinian state and impose on Israel the well-known peace terms:
* two states,
* return to the 1967 borders with small and agreed-upon land swaps,
* East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine,
* evacuation of all settlements which are not included in the land swap,
* the return of a symbolic number of refugees to Israeli territory, and
* the settlement of the others in Palestine and elsewhere.
Palestinian security forces on Thursday conducted a series of drills in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, including a special display for school children. The exercises were meant to boost the security forces' image in the eyes of the West Bank's younger population.
The Palestinian security forces have significantly improved their capabilities over the past two years. Some battalions underwent special training in Jordan under the supervision of US General Keith Dayton, and additional battalions are expected to be trained in the Hashemite Kingdom in the future.
Despite recent turbulence in U.S. relations with Israel, President Obama is "seriously considering" proposing an American peace plan to resolve the Palestinian conflict, according to two top administration officials.
"The truth is in some of these conflicts the United States can't impose solutions unless the participants in these conflicts are willing to break out of old patterns of antagonism," Obama told a news conference on Tuesday.
Contrary to the demonic image created by Israeli and American propaganda, Hamas wants a Palestinian state, not an Islamic emirate. Like our own Orthodox, who aim at a Jewish state ruled by religious law and the rabbis, they know how to compromise with reality. Hamas’ aims are not restricted to the small enclave they now control. They want to play a major role in the future State of Palestine.
The official position of Hamas is that they will accept an agreement signed by the Palestinian authority if it is ratified by the Palestinian people in a referendum or by an act of parliament. It should be noted that even now, Hamas treats the Fayyad experiment with relative indulgence.
In your letter of 13 December, you expressed your deep concern about the repercussions of a United States decision to begin a dialogue with the PLO. I would like to add my personal assurances to those already made to you by Secretary [George] Shultz, that nothing in this decision should be construed as weakening the United States' commitment to Israel's security, diminishing our fight against terrorism in all its forms, or indicating our acceptance of an independent Palestinian state.
When the United Nations created the state of Israel, it was also supposed to create a second "Palestinian" state. That was not acceptable to the neighboring Arab nations at that time
I'm not sure about a one state solution. Arab Israelis do not have the same rights as Jewish Israelis. Rights such as these would have to be enshirned in Israeli law before a one-state solution could be workable.
Mr Ornan, 86, said that denying a common Israeli nationality was the linchpin of state-sanctioned discrimination against the Arab population. “There are even two laws -- the Law of Return for Jews and the Citizenship Law for Arabs -- that determine how you belong to the state,” he said. “What kind of democracy divides its citizens into two kinds?”
Yoel Harshefi, a lawyer supporting Mr Ornan, said the interior ministry had resorted to creating national groups with no legal recognition outside Israel, such as “Arab” or “unknown”, to avoid recognising an Israeli nationality.
Chances for Jews and Arabs to live together -- outside of a handful of cities -- are all but impossible because Israel’s rural communities are strictly segregated, said Alaa Mahajneh, a lawyer representing the Zakais.
Israel has nationalised 93 per cent of the country’s territory, confining most of its 1.3 million Arab citizens, one-fifth of the population, to 120 or so communities that existed at the time of the state’s creation in 1948. Meanwhile, more than 700 rural communities, including Nevatim, have remained exclusively Jewish by requiring that anyone who wants to buy a home applies to local vetting committees, which have been used to weed out Arab applicants.