Thursday, 6 May 2010

Love of the Land: The road to nowhere

The road to nowhere

Michael Freund
Fundamentally Freund/JPost
05 May '10

On the eve of the anticipated start of so-called proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians, there is a discernible lack of enthusiasm.

The fanfare that usually accompanies the relaunch of Middle East negotiations has been replaced by an atmosphere of apathy, as it seems clear to just about everyone – outside the White House, that is – that little will come of the impending round.

Speaking to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday, Brig.-Gen. Yossi Baidatz, head of IDF Intelligence’s Research Division, said that even before the talks commence, the Palestinians are “already preparing the ground for the failure” of the process.

And dovish Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor was no less gloomy, telling The Jerusalem Post yesterday that the talks “won’t yield results” because the Palestinians are not willing to take “tough decisions.”

Indeed, it says a lot about the state of the peace process that the only tangible outcome certain to emerge is an inevitable boost in US envoy George Mitchell’s frequent-flyer account. This, of course, is entirely the fault of the Palestinians, who have repeatedly rejected the various gestures made by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over the past 12 months.

Basking in the glow of unprecedented American pressure on the Jewish state, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is in no rush to make progress in difficult bargaining with Israel. He has every reason to wait, knowing full well that when the negotiations stall, the weight of international pressure will come down hard on the decision-makers in Jerusalem and not Ramallah.

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Love of the Land: The road to nowhere

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