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Talks About Talks Set to Resume


With Israel’s cabinet having voted to release 104 Palestinian prisoners, the headlines this morning are particularly optimistic about prospects for Israeli-Palestinian talks. The NY Times: “Israel and Palestinians Set to Resume Peace Talks, U.S. Announces”. The Washington Post: “Peace talks set to begin after Israel agrees to free 104 Palestinian prisoners”.

These are all a little misleading: Israelis and Palesitinians aren’t yet ready for actual talks about peace. What has happened is that they have moved from indirect talks about talks about peace to direct talks about talks about peace.

We’ll see; neither side really thinks the negotiations will work, but neither side wants to get blamed for failure. That gives Secretary Kerry something to work with. Since this is about the only good news coming out of the Middle East these days, we will cherish it and hope for the best. The Times story in particular suggests that Martin Indyk will be named by Kerry to represent the United States at these talks (about talks). This is even more reason to be hopeful. Indyk is an experienced diplomat and is unlikely to get deeply involved unless he thinks there is a real chance for significant progress.

And even if Kerry can’t, as most observers still think, get real peace, there might still be some ways that more people on both sides could go about their daily business without interference or threat. Given the way things have been going for the past decade or so, that would be an achievement.

[Photo courtesy Getty Images]

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  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    The Bush administration had it right, this conflict should be ignored until it becomes low hanging fruit. Kerry is a fool, pissing away American prestige to no gain. The Palestinians don’t want peace, and until they do negotiations are senseless.

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