09/21/2009, 00.00
ISRAEL – PALESTINE – US
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Few expect much from meeting between Obama, Netanyahu and Abbas

The White House cautions against expecting too much, speaks of an opportunity to bring the three leaders together. For Israelis, it is a “photo opportunity”; for the Palestinians it is a way to show the Americans who is blocking the peace process.
New York (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Tomorrow’s three-way meeting in New York between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas and US President Barack Obama will be a “photo opportunity” for the Israelis, an opportunity to show “who is blocking the negotiations” for the Palestinians and just plain “useless” for Hamas.

A White House official cautioned against major expectations, but stressed that the meeting was meant to “to continue to try to bridge gaps and bridge divides” between Palestinians and Israelis.

Mr Obama is expected to meet the Middle Eastern leaders separately first, and then jointly, all this on the sidelines of the annual General Assembly of the United Nations.

“We hope that this meeting will be an opportunity for President Obama to listen to the different points of view and to understand who is blocking the negotiations,” Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said.

“For us, it is Israel that is blocking them, because it refuses to apply the provisions of the road map,” Erekat said.

“It is Netanyahu who refuses the call by Obama to resume negotiations on the basis of international resolutions and the ‘road map,’ and we hope that the American president will force the parties to apply them,” he added.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh was quoted by the official Hamas website as saying that any agreement reached by Abbas at the trilateral summit would not be honoured. Ultimately, Haniyeh said the negotiations are “useless”.

In Israel Haaretz quoted sources in the Prime Minister’s office as saying that the “meeting will not inaugurate [renewed] negotiations and will not involve any significant details” because the “differences on the issue of the settlements [. . .] remain deep.”

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