It's lovely to be back in the Holy Land – and it was lovely to see all the good folk at LeSEA doing so much to keep pushing the Gospel to the world.
Remember them in your kind prayers won't you?!
Now – on to my task at hand, which is keeping you abreast of the facts on the ground here in Israel. Chuck mentioned on yesterday's broadcast that we'll look into the upcoming official peace negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and his team have taken off for Washington today. But the big news is that in the moments before the launch of renewed direct negotiations, we've apparently had a summit before the Washington summit, as Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak met secretly with Palestinian President Mohmoud Abbas at a private home in Amman Jordan on Sunday.
Apparently after Barak met with the Jordanian King Abdullah II, he used his visit to Jordan for another meeting to discuss security arrangements in the West Bank ahead of Thursday's direct talks.
In the meeting, in which the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories also participated, the sides allegedly discussed the diplomatic process as well.
But the man fielding most of the pressure is Mr. Netanyahu, who said on the eve of his departure to America; 'Don't worry, no one has to teach me to love the country'.
It is fair to say the most here do not expect a breakthrough. Even the
US administration appears to be starting to lower expectations.
The White House said it will take time to resolve issues which have prevented peace for the past 30 years. The Spokesman went on to say that both Israelis and Palestinians are serious about their intentions for a comprehensive peace, but that we will have to wait for all of the issues to be resolved. Curiously, in contrast, a US State Department Spokesman assessed that it is possible to conclude negotiations within a year.
The 'view at 35,000 feet', is that these US-brokered direct negotiations are in the hope that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it would balance other perceived failures in the region. President Barak Obama is going to make a great effort in all this, and will use his power and influence to achieve an agreement between the sides. The purpose here is to perhaps build an Israeli-Arab strategic alignment in order to counter the opposing radical axis. This is something that local media has commented on, trying to get the Israeli Government to understand Mr. Obama's motives and “try – as much as possible – to take them into consideration.”
Be sure to catch my live update tomorrow on the Harvest Show!
Middle East Correspondent