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Media Summary

Israel accepts Quartet’s Middle East peace proposal

In the UK and international press today, Reuters reports that Israel accepted the Middle East Quartet’s proposal to resume direct peace talks immediately with the Palestinians. BBC Online notes that US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta is arriving in Israel today and said that Israel should restart peace talks with the Palestinians and improve relations with Turkey and Egypt. The Independent notes that German Chancellor Angela Merkel strongly condemned the latest Israeli announcement to build additional housing units in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Gilo. The paper also notes that after the US Congress decision to block £130 million in aid to the Palestinians, the Arab League called on its members to help the Palestinian Authority make up the shortfall in aid. Meanwhile, the Scotsman reports that several complaints by Palestinian officials have been made about Quartet Envoy Tony Blair’s role, accusing him of biased in his work towards Israel. In other news, several papers note that Syrian dissidents have organised and united against President Bashar Assad and threaten to bring the country to civil war.

Over the weekend, the Independent reported that US Congress decided to block £130 million in aid to the Palestinians. The paper led with an article on the US Congress decision calling it an “unjust punishment” for the Palestinians.

In the Israeli press, the front page of Haaretz notes that US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta will arrive in Israel today and will meet with Defence Minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Jerusalem Post front page reports that Israel yesterday accepted the Quartet’s Middle East proposal for peace talks.

In other news, the Jerusalem Post notes that Washington welcomed Israel’s decision to accept the Quartet’s proposal for peace talks. Haaretz and Ynetnews note that the vote of the Trajtenberg social-economic report was postponed due to pressure from student unions and coalition factions, which made the government decide to hold discussions on the report before a vote takes place. Haaretz and Globes note that the chair of Tnuva Food Industries Ltd., Zehavit Cohen, has resigned. Ynetnews notes that Opposition leader Tzipi Livni will travel to London next week following an invitation from Foreign Secretary William Hague. This will be Livni’s first trip to the UK since it issues a warrant for her arrest under the universal jurisdiction law.