President Obama will host a meeting Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in an effort to lay the groundwork for renewed negotiations on Mideast peace. The three-way meeting, which will be on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly forum, will take place immediately after Obama meets separately with each of the two leaders.
Obama has set the renewal of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks as a major goal of his young presidency, and he dispatched George Mitchell as a White House envoy to soften the ground on both sides. Mitchell has had a hard go, with a new hawkish Israeli leader on one side and an increasingly dispirited Palestinian leader on the other. The key disputes are over Israeli settlement expansion and whether peace talks should begin where they left off under Netanyahu's predecessors.