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Israel's Netanyahu Due to Hold Peace Talks with Egypt's Mubarak Sunday

Israel's Prime Minister Hosni Mubarak is expected to convene with Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo on Sunday to discuss pushing forward the stalled Middle East peace process, Egyptian and Israeli officials said, the Beirut daily AN NAHAR reported Saturday. Netanyahu and Mubarak "will tackle the peace process and common interest issues," an Israeli official said. Netanyahu's right-leaning government refuses to totally freeze Jewish settlement building in the occupied Palestinian territories, despite mounting US pressures. Washington wants Tel Aviv to halt settlement building in line with a 2003 Roadmap that aims to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict by establishing a Palestinian state.

Israeli news reports said Mubarak invited the Israeli premier for talks in the Egyptian capital "as part of an Egyptian desire to give impetus to the Israeli-Palestinian talks." The Palestinians and Israelis have not held peace negotiations since December when Israel launched a 22-day onslaught on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Authority (PA) of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refuses to resume talks with the Jewish state before a total settlement freeze. US President Barack Obama is expected to deliver his vision for Mideast peace during the United Nations General Assembly in New York later this month. Mubarak last conferred with Netanyahu in July, and he urged the Israeli leader to exert further efforts to prove Israel's commitment to peace.

Israel approved on Monday the building of 455 settler homes in the West Bank, a move that drew Palestinian protests and rare U.S. criticism but that could pave the way for the construction moratorium sought by Washington. Some 500,000 Israelis live in settlements in the West Bank, land which Israel captured in a 1967 war and Palestinians seek for a state, and Arab East Jerusalem, which Israel has annexed as part of its capital in a move not recognized internationally. Palestinians, who number about three million in the West Bank, say settlements deprive them of land for a viable state.

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Title Annotation:Today's News Highlights
Publication:The Weekly Middle East Reporter (Beirut, Lebanon)
Date:Sep 12, 2009
Words:334
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