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US Secretary of State John Kerry meets for peace talks with Israeli PM Netanyahu

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On Thursday, the Jerusalem Post reported that United States Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Kerry arrived in Jerusalem on Wednesday evening. During his stay he will also visit with Palestinian Officials, in the Palestinian city of Ramallah. Palestinian officials claim that there has been no real progress made in the Israeli peace talks. Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, is Israel's chief negotiator and told the Jerusalem Post that "substantial progress" was being made. Last week, Palestinian Officials denied Livni' statements saying that no progress has been made.

A major cause of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is due to the building of illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian ground. From December 7 until December 9, the Netherlands-Israeli business mission forums will take place in Jerusalem and Ramallah. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, believes that the forums will create 'economic cooperation' between the two countries. Five of the companies that could possibly be included in this 'economic' venture, conduct business in the West Bank.

Kerry is scheduled to meet with Netanyahu on Thursday morning. Later in the day he will travel to Ramallah and meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. If deemed necessary, Kerry will schedule a follow-up meeting with Netanyahu. Kerry is expected to fly back to the U.S. on Friday. This isn't the first time that Kerry has had to referee the peace talks between Israel and Palestine. The Palestinian officials are also re-voicing their concerns of the U.S. having a bias for Israel and are requesting the involvement of other international parties.

The Guardian reports that Binyamin Netanyahu, spent around £1,000 of public money on scented candles last year. Netanyahu spent more than £571,000 on houses, a third more than was budgeted. The sums included almost £16,000 on flower arrangements. Tax payers also paid for almost £54,000 for cleaning, gardening, maintenance and utilities at the Caesarea residence, where the Netanyahu family spends occasional weekends."

On Wednesday, foreign diplomats were told that "U.S. bias in favor of Israel does not serve peace, by PLO Executive Committee member Hana Ashrawi. She continued by saying that the U.S. holds a "monopoly" over the peace process, which allows them to place pressure on the Palestinian leadership. This is being done "while Israel does not abide by international law and signed agreements," said Ashrawi. Israeli officials dismiss these claims, they see it as the Palestinians adopting a policy of brinkmanship. It seems to them, that Palestinians always claim that the peace talks are in trouble right before the arrival of Kerry.



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