Rice to Israel soon

Condoleezza Rice will visit Israel
before the end of the month.

The visit, announced Wednesday night after the U.S.
secretary of state met with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, would be
Rice’s second this year.

Rice has said Israeli-Palestinian peace would be a top
priority for her last two years in office. She and Livni discussed the 2002
Arab peace initiative, which offered comprehensive peace to Israel
in exchange for a return to pre-1967 lines and an agreement on the Palestinian demand for a refugee “right of return” to Israel.

Livni and Rice both regard the initiative as a starting
point, not a bottom line. Israel
had rejected its language until now because it implied an unfettered right of
return for millions of refugees and their descendants, but Israeli officials believe Arab leaders understand they must retreat on the refugee
issue.

Israel is seeking a comprehensive Arab peace as a means of
pressuring the Palestinians into repudiating their Hamas-led government.

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