Middle East

Peace Talks to Resume?

Thursday marked the first signs of thawing after Israel humiliated Vice President Joe Biden on his trip to the region by announcing the building of new settlements. U.S. Special Envoy George Mitchell is hoping to announce a breakthrough during his three-day visit to Israel. In a TV interview, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu refused to halt the controversial construction of settlements in East Jerusalem, but also said he was anxious to begin talks with a “full understanding” that they are a necessity. Netanyahu has yet to formally announce which actions Israel will be taking to further the peace process, but he is expected to release Palestinian prisoners and ease movement and access within the West Bank as gestures toward Palestine. There has been much back and forth and pointing fingers, but one Israeli official said, “Mitchell wouldn’t have come if there hadn’t been progress.”