Netanyahu, Mubarak, Abbas see Obama in Washington this month

The White House has set dates for president Hosni Mubarak to hold talks with US President Barack Obama on May 26, eight days after the Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s May 18 visit. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will round out the Middle East cycle on May 28.
Bridging the gaping differences on a Middle East peace will be a herculean task which President Barack Obama has pledged to tackle ahead of his June 4 address to the Muslim world from Egypt.
His spokesman Robert Gibbs said Tuesday, May 12, that the president will discuss “the steps all parties should take to help achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians and between Israel and the Arab states.”
The Obama administration has been pressing Israel to accept a Palestinian state and halt the expansion of Jewish settlements “to diminish the Iranian nuclear threat.”
Netanyahu refuses to endorse the goal of Palestinian statehood and wants Iran tackled first, a concern shared by Egypt.
debkafile‘s Middle East sources report that the private one-and-a-half hour conversation Netanyahu and Mubarak held a at Sharm el-Sheikh Monday, May 11 focused on the urgency of a common Israeli-Arab strategy for dealing with Iran and its allies, which Egypt too has defined as a threat to its own and Middle East stability. Both are worried by the Obama administration’s lenience toward Tehran.
Their brief statements later dealt only with their differing approaches on the Palestinian issue.
Mubarak stressed the vision of two states for two nations and the Arab peace initiative, calling on Israel to take up the peace dialogue with the Palestinians from the point it ran aground last year. As the Egyptian president knows, Netanyahu has rejected the concessions made by his predecessor Ehud Olmert.
He also returned to the proposal for a long-term Israel-Hamas ceasefire for the Gaza Strip, which even Olmert refused as long as Hamas was rearming.
Netanyahu, while pledging to renew talks in a matter of weeks, omitted to support two states and emphasized the talks must start on a fresh basis, focusing on diplomatic, economic and security issues. Israel and its Palestinian neighbors can co-exist in peace, security and prosperity, he said.

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