Israel, Palestinian leaders say no chance of peace this year

Friday, February 08, 2008 |  by Staff Writer

Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayad said during a visit to US President George W. Bush's home state of Texas on Thursday that he no longer believes a final status peace agreement can be achieved by the end of 2008 because of Israel's failure to more rapidly remove Jewish civilians from the areas the Palestinians claim as their own.

The statement, which was reported by Israel Radio, was seen as an effort to elicit greater US pressure on Israel to meet Arab demands. Mr. Bush has repeatedly expressed his determination to oversee an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal before he leaves office.

Earlier in the day, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said in a meeting with US Middle East envoy James Jones that it is ongoing Palestinian violence against Israel that is holding up peace efforts.

Livni was quoted as saying that Israel could not possibly move toward signing a peace agreement with the Palestinian Arabs while Palestinian terrorists continue to fire rockets at Jewish civilians in southern Israel.

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