United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Sunday pressed Israel to ease travel restrictions on Palestinians and called Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank ''particularly problematic''. But she said Washington believed an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal was still possible before US President George Bush leaves office in January.
President George Bush launched a United States drive to create a Palestinian state on Monday, with Israelis and Palestinians nearing an agreement to address the toughest issues of their decades-old conflict. His legacy dominated by war in Iraq, Bush began three days of Middle East diplomacy in separate Oval Office meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators neared an agreement on Monday on a peace agenda ahead of a new drive by United States President George Bush to restart long-dormant talks to create a Palestinian state. Expectations were low for three days of meetings in Washington and nearby Annapolis, Maryland.
United States President George Bush meets Palestinian and Israeli leaders on Monday in a last-ditch push for Palestinian statehood before he leaves office in 14 months. Expectations are low for three days of talks because Bush, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas all face political challenges at home.
Hamas may now rule Gaza, but for many ordinary Palestinians the bloody conclusion of this week's factional fighting promises only more chaos. Emergency measures imposed by President Mahmoud Abbas in an 11th-hour bid to bolster his secular Fatah against Hamas Islamists provided little consolation to Palestinians.
Palestinians are crying out for order and progress towards statehood, yet their Parliament has failed to pass a single law in over a year, paralysed by factional fighting and, some say, Israeli tactics. In the 15 months since voters rallied behind the Hamas Islamist group, the 11-year-old Palestinian Legislative Council has rarely managed to gather the 67 members, a simple majority, to form a quorum for decisions.