24 August '10
Although the “direct talks” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority cannot possibly lead to a peace agreement — here’s a good explanation of why — many observers think they are at least harmless.
They aren’t. The trouble is that the non-existent possibility of success will be used — is already being used — as a club to beat Israel. For example:
With the imminent onset of long-sought direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the US administration expects that neither side will take any measure to poison the atmosphere or derail the talks, a senior American official said on Tuesday.
The official, in a briefing in Jerusalem with Israeli journalists, was asked repeatedly, and in various permeations, how the administration would react to an end to the settlement housing-start moratorium on September 26. The official would not answer directly, but only repeated the mantra about Washington expecting that both sides not do anything to harm the atmosphere or derail the talks. The official then went to Ramallah for a similar briefing with Palestinian reporters.
On Monday, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the moratorium issue would be a topic of discussion when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and PA President Mahmoud Abbas meet with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to launch the direct talks next Thursday in Washington.
“We are very mindful of the Palestinian position and once we’re now into direct negotiations, we expect that both parties will do everything within their power to create an environment for those negotiations to continue constructively,” Crowley said when asked about the Palestinian threat to quit the talks if the moratorium was not renewed.
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