Israeli’s And Palestinian’s Back At The Negotiating Table


Mideast

After a long hiatus, peace talks will be resuming in an effort to reach a “final status” between the Israeli’s and Palestinians. Secretary of State John Kerry said, “our objective will be to achieve a final status agreement over the course of the next nine months.”  He also said another meeting will be held within two weeks either in Israel or the Palestinian territories.  Mr Kerry was speaking at a news conference following two days of negotiations between the two sides.  According to Kerry, “all issues” would be on the table for discussion. “They are on the table with one simple goal: a view to ending the conflict, ending the claims.”  Prior to the news conference, President Obama met at the White House with Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and long time Palestinian negotiator on the Palestinian side, Saeb Erekat.  Mr Kerry praised both sides and said, “I know the path is difficult. There is no shortage of passionate sceptics. But with capable, respected negotiators, I am convinced that we can get there.”  Later both sides made comments Erekat stating that,”Palestinians have suffered enough. It’s time for the Palestinians to live in peace, freedom and dignity within their own independent sovereign state.”  Livni said that while she is optimistic, she is not naive, “It is our task to work together so that we can transform that spark of hope into something real and lasting.” She continued, “I believe that history is not made by cynics. It is made by realists who are not afraid to dream.  And let us be those people.” Based on history however, there is little reason to have faith these talks will be any more fruitful than past negotiations.  However, there is one main difference, not present before; practical thinking.  Benjamin Netanyahu now realizes the only way for Israel to maintain its Jewish identity, is to ensure the Palestinians have a state.  Furthermore, he realizes the military threats that once existed from the majority of Israel’s Arab neighbors, are no longer valid.  Iran is a threat to every country, not just Israel. Privately or outwardly, Israel has friends in the middle east. Peace with the Palestinians would only strengthen those bonds and would further limit those who want to drive Israel in to the sea.  Finally, only a hawkish leader like Netanyahu can make peace.  It would be much tougher for a labor leader to negotiate peace, so all the pieces are now in place.  The final question is, will both sides take advantage of this historic opportunity.

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