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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The 'proximity talks'

Laura Rozen reports that Israeli and 'Palestinian' analysts have put different spins on US Middle East envoy George Mitchell's Monday announcement regarding the commencement of 'proximity talks' between Israel and the 'Palestinians.'
"I’m pleased that the Israeli and Palestinian leadership have accepted indirect talks," Mitchell said in a statement today. "We've begun to discuss the structure and scope of these talks and I will return to the region next week to continue our discussions. As we've said many times, we hope that these will lead to direct negotiations as soon as possible. We also again encourage the parties, and all concerned, to refrain from any statements or actions which may inflame tensions or prejudice the outcome of these talks."

"The text indicates that he will NOT announce anything while Biden is here," the former Israeli official interprets.

"There will be a generic statement on the sides's 'willingness' to participate in 'indirect talks' but nothing on terms of reference, [specific] issues etc.," the former Israeli official interpreted. "Bulls***."

But the American Task Force for Palestine's Hussein Ibish says the indirect talks provide a bridging mechanism that could yield direct final status negotiations the Obama administration has long sought to get relaunched.

"I think they're going to be talking about how to resume full, direct negotiations," Ibish says. "The main topics [of the indirect proximity talks] will be terms of reference, schedule of topics, timeframe, and all that kind of thing."

"The Palestinians want specifics," Ibish continued. "The Israelis want the vagueness. That's a difficult gap to bridge. Also, the Palestinians are very keenly aware of the dangers of a complete meltdown at the diplomatic level and want and need some assurances that this will not be a complete catastrophe. ....Proximity talks allow them, and everyone to ease back into the negotiating process with some political protection."
If by 'terms of reference' and 'timeframe' Ibish means an Israeli commitment to expel all the Jews who are outside the 1949 armistice lines from their homes - let alone committing to a time frame for doing so - these talks aren't going to get very far.


At 11:52 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel is not going to make such a commitment and the Palestinians are not ready to make compromises to bring about a real peace agreement.

Expect no real breakthroughs this year.


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