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Monday, May 03, 2010

Proximity talks' real goal: Undermining Netanyahu?

US Special middle East envoy George Mitchell arrived in Israel on Monday to prepare for the 'proximity talks' that will start on Wednesday. The 'talks' won't be a whole lot different than what Mitchell has done up to now - relaying messages from one side to the other - except that this time the messages will be about substantive issues rather than about how to get back to the bargaining table. Unless, of course, Mitchell decides to raise US positions while relaying the messages.

I know that many of you must be wondering what the purpose of these talks is given that they are seemingly doomed to failure from the outset. Avi Issacharoff has an interesting theory on that score:
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat has been saying in recent days that the construction of even one apartment in Jerusalem's Ramat Shlomo neighborhood or, conversely, demolitions of East Jerusalem Arab homes, would severely strain the indirect talks. That statement sounds like an alibi for another negotiations blowout the PA could pin on Israel (particularly the demolitions clause, as there's no intention to build in Ramat Shlomo for at least another two years). Moreover, it raises the suspicion that that Palestinians are not as interested in advancing a peace deal as they are in weighing the ways to hurt Netanyahu's standing. Thing is, the U.S. appears more interested in "how can we get rid of Netanyahu" than on the success of any upcoming round of talks. Otherwise, they would have sat the quarreling kids around the table to settle a peace deal a long time ago.
If they really believe that collapsing these talks is going to bring about Tzipi Livni's election, and that Livni is going to be able afterward to form a coalition that will be more amenable to making more concessions to the 'Palestinians,' they really don't understand this country.


At 1:50 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

That's not going to happen. And Israelis know if it wasn't for Obama's weird obsession with "Palestine", the Palestinians wouldn't even bother with the farce of the "proximity talks" - and they won't help Obama to help them achieve their supposed objective.


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