Cameron tells Abbas Middle East peace is 'certainly possible'

David Cameron has told the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas that peace in the Middle East "is certainly possible". He also met peace envoy Tony Blair on the second day of his trip to the region.

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Israel claims rockets fired from Gaza for second day

The Israel Defence Force said rockets have been fired on Israel from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip for the second day in a row:

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BREAKING: #Gaza terrorists just fired their 8th rocket at #Israel today. The #IronDome system intercepted it above Netivot

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UPDATE: The 3 #Gaza rockets that were fired several minutes ago hit the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council, raising the toll to 7 rockets today

The rocket attacks came on the second day of Prime Minister David Cameron's trip to the Middle East designed, to bolster efforts to rekindle the stalled peace process.

Cameron hears Palestinian concerns 'over a cup of tea'

David Cameron said he spent some of the day "hearing about Palestinian concerns over a cup of tea and falafel" with the Mayor of Bethlehem, Vera Baboun.

Prime Minister David Cameron takes a drink with the Mayor of Bethlehem Vera Baboun.
Prime Minister David Cameron takes a drink with the Mayor of Bethlehem Vera Baboun. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

He met young Palestinian business people from east Jerusalem and spoke by video-link to three young women in the Gaza Strip, where he said the current situation was "unacceptable", to ask them about their hopes for the peace process.

Prime Minister David Cameron is shown around Bethlehem by Mayor Vera Baboun.
Prime Minister David Cameron is shown around Bethlehem by Mayor Vera Baboun. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The Prime Minister also took time out from his round of discussions to visit the site considered to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, the Church of the Nativity.

David Cameron looks into the manger where it is believed Jesus Christ was born in the crypt of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
David Cameron looks into the manger where it is believed Jesus Christ was born in the crypt of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

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Cameron tells Abbas peace is 'certainly possible'

David Cameron said both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will "have to take difficult and unpalatable and sometimes unpopular decisions for their constituencies" in order to achieve the peace settlement.

David Cameron meets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Speaking alongside Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after talks in Bethlehem, Mr Cameron said about the peace settlement: "I'm not saying it's definite or even probable, but it's certainly possible."

The Prime Minister also held brief talks with his Labour predecessor as premier, Tony Blair, who is now the special envoy of the Quartet of the UN, US, EU and Russia, working on the development of the Palestinian economy.

Read: Cameron meets Abbas and Blair in Middle East peace push

Blair: Economy is crucial in Middle East peace process

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is now a special envoy in the Middle East, said economy is vital in the peace process.

"The economic side, which is absolutely vital because if we don't build the Palestinian economy up at the same time as you are pursuing the political negotiation then a state for the Palestinians seems a dream and not a reality," Mr Blair said.

Read: Cameron meets Abbas and Blair in Middle East peace push

PM 'sees Israel as homeland for the Jewish people'

David Cameron told ITV News Political Editor Tom Bradby he recognises Israel as "the homeland for the Jewish people."

"What we should do is recognise states," the Prime Minister said during his trip to the Middle East.

"It is then up to states to decide what to call themselves, that's the way it should work," Mr Cameron added.

Read: Cameron meets Abbas and Blair in Middle East peace push

PM meets Blair in Jerusalem to discuss Middle East

David Cameron met the Middle East peace envoy Tony Blair at the British consulate in Jerusalem.

David Cameron and Tony Blair Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The two spoke for 20 minutes, discussing the peace process.

Asked whether missile attacks could knock the plan off track, Mr Blair said: "The strikes from Gaza just underline and illustrate the depth of the problem.

Read: Cameron meets Abbas and Blair in Middle East peace push

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UK offers £3 million to support Palestinian businesses

David Cameron will set out further UK support to create business opportunities and jobs in the Palestinian territories as part of a Middle East peace push.

The Prime Minister has offered grants for 90 companies to enable them to target foreign investors and enter new markets.

Mr Cameron is meeting the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas later today to discuss the situation.

He will also offer further £1.5 million for skills training for 1,000 refugee women in Gaza.

The funding is part of the government’s Palestinian Market Development Programme.

Read: Cameron to meet Abbas and Blair in Middle East peace push

PM to meet Abbas and Blair in Middle East peace push

David Cameron is meeting Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas today on the second day of a trip to the Middle East designed to bolster efforts to rekindle the stalled peace process.

David Cameron will meet Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas today Credit: PA

Mr Cameron will also hold talks with one of his predecessors, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, to discuss progress on peace talks. Mr Blair is the European peace envoy of "the Quartet" of the United Nations, the EU, the US and Russia.

They are expected to meet for 20 minutes in East Jerusalem to discuss Mr Blair's Palestinian economic initiative, which aims to promote growth in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Prime Minister's appeal yesterday for Israelis and Palestinians to embrace a vision of lasting peace in the region was undermined by a barrage of more than 30 rockets fired from Hamas-controlled Gaza into the south of Israel.

Read: PM appeals to Israel for peace deal after rocket attacks

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