In what will be their first direct talks in almost two years, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet Thursday in Washington, D.C. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and George Mitchell, the U.S. Mideast peace envoy, are to act as mediators for the talks. The hope is these talks will launch future talks, and, ultimately, an agreement within a year on the creation of a Palestinian state. Netanyahu said any agreement must guarantee his country’s security. “We left Lebanon, we got terror. We left Gaza, and we got terror once again. We want to ensure that territory we concede will not be turned into a third Iranian-sponsored terror enclave aimed at the heart of Israel,” he said. Abbas said the Palestinians must seize the opportunity to carve out a peace agreement: “We don’t want blood to be shed, neither that of Palestinians nor of Israelis. We want peace, we want normal life. We want to live as partners and neighbours.”
A step toward Middle East peace?
Netanyahu and Abbas meet for talks in Washington today