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Israel and the Palestinian territories

Last Updated: Friday August 21 2009 08:59 GMT

What are world leaders doing?

Head of a United Nations fact finding mission on the Gaza conflict, former South African judge Richard Goldstone

They are trying to help the Israelis and Palestinians to resolve their differences.

In 2003, international diplomats from the United Nations, America, the European Union and Russia came up with a plan for both sides called a 'Road Map to Peace'.

This group of diplomats, which includes the UK government, say the only solution is an end to "the occupation that began in 1967".

They say there should be two states - Israel and an independent state of Palestine - and it is in "the fundamental interests of the international community" to establish a "State of Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza".

They also say Israel should stop building more settlements, and want all Palestinian groups to agree to stop attacking Israelis.

Envoys

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was appointed a special envoy to the Middle East in 2007 working on behalf of the US, Russia, the UN and the EU.

Being an envoy means it's his job is to talk to everyone involved and help them agree a peace deal.

America's Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell
Barack Obama has asked George Mitchell to try to help everyone agree a peace deal

American President Barack Obama has appointed former American Senator George Mitchell to be his envoy to the region.

Arab states have made their own peace proposal to Israel.

Both Jordan and Egypt have already signed peace agreements with Israel. Syria has not, because Israel occupies the Golan Heights, which is Syrian land Israel captured in the 1967 war.