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Netanyahu vows Israeli-Palestinian peace as ally Lieberman sows doubt

The Israeli prime minister met with US envoy George Mitchell today to shore up an Israeli-Palestinian peace process undermined by his foreign minister yesterday.

In this April 6, 2009 file photo, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (r.) walks behind Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (c.) during a session of the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem.

Dan Balilty/AP/File

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US Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem today, seeking to shore up a recently renewed, but already flagging, round of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said yesterday that the talks would be called off in about a week if Israel doesn't extend a settlement freeze – a move the US had demanded as a confidence-building measure but now appears to be backing away from.

But even as Mitchell scrambled in Jerusalem, comments from Mr. Netanyahu's gadfly Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman laid bare stark disagreements within the Israeli elite. Such disagreement call into question the feasibility of President Barack Obama's one-year timeline for a comprehensive Palestinian-Israeli peace deal.

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