US pushes through with the talks

Posted: May 2, 2010 by Jonathan Boyko in International, Israel, Palestinians, Peace Process, Politics, US

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton The indirect talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians would begin next week, according to US SoS Hillary Clinton:

On Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton confirmed that next week, the United States would start indirect talks, in which the administration’s special envoy, George J. Mitchell, would ferry proposals between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

“Ultimately, we want to see the parties in direct negotiations and working out all the difficult issues that they must,” Mrs. Clinton said to reporters at the State Department, after meeting with Kuwait’s deputy prime minister, Muhammad al-Sabah. “They’ve been close a few times before.”

Beyond all these hurdles, some analysts say a fundamental rethinking of Middle East peacemaking is needed, given the strength of Israel and the weakened, divided nature of the Palestinian Authority.

“There is a fundamental asymmetry between the parties, and unless we acknowledge that, we’ll be stuck,” said Daniel Levy, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation.

(The New York Times)

THE MOVE MIGHT signal Obama administration’s change of heart regarding the peace process between Israelis and the Palestinians. With President Obama forcefully pushing the negotiations through since day one – and eventually bringing the whole thing to a grinding halt – the Americans might believe it is time to change the attitude. Demanding total construction halt from the Israelis – including Jerusalem – was one of the worst moves by the Obama administration as it left Netanyahu with very little options. Option one – give in to American demands, which wouldn’t necessarily advance the peace talks, but where Netanyahu would be forced off the chair by his Right-wing partners. Option two – stay steady and not give in: worse for the Americans, but eventually garnered much support for Netanyahu among the Israelis. With Netanyahu seeing much support from his own people, he decided not to budge. Obama surely did not like the scenario, but understood his mistake. Now, he is trying to fix the damage he did in the past year – which might not be easy.

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