Biden to J Street: Peace talks must go forward
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Instability in the Middle East presents an incentive to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace, Vice President Joe Biden told J Street’s annual conference.
After reviewing an array of countries seized by unrest, including Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain, as well as the threat posed by Iran’s suspected nuclear program, Biden said on Sept. 30 in Washington that he and President Barack Obama were asked often why they chose to focus on restarting Israeli-Palestinian talks.
He said it was because it was the best chance for introducing stability in the region.
“The Palestinian-Israeli issue involves the least ideological and least sectarian Arabs in the Middle East,” Biden said.
Arriving hours late, the vice president proceeded to rehash many of the same themes, and even the anecdotes, he discussed during his speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference last spring.
The reaction from some 3,000 activists attending the liberal pro-Israel group’s annual conference was mixed. While he received light applause for his mentions of Iran sanctions, it was his call to support diplomacy that won more praise.
He defended the American role in peace negotiations, noting that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his meeting earlier that day with Obama thanked the president for encouraging the restart of peace talks. Biden was present at the meeting as well. — jta
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