Diplomacy

Direct Mideast Peace Talks Begin

Direct peace talks between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas begin Thursday as the leaders work with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to agree on a two-state solution. Both leaders expressed their commitment to peace Wednesday night. Netanyahu called Abbas his “partner in peace” while Abbas vowed to work hard despite certain difficulties. Analysts have been doubtful that the talks could be successful after decades of failure, but saw a good sign in the leaders’ agreeing to continue after four Hamas members shot four settlers to death in the West Bank Wednesday night. Usually, talks are quite easy to torpedo. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordanian King Abdullah II attended the ceremony, underscoring President Obama’s hope for a regional solution to the violence.