Israeli analysts differ over prospects of direct talks

09:33, August 23, 2010      

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by Gur Salomon

If all go according to plans, Israel and the Palestinians will soon officially return to the negotiating table. The direct talks will be inaugurated on Sept. 2 at a two-day summit in Washington.

The event will mark the end of an 18-month lull in negotiations, during which the United States exerted considerable pressure on both sides to renew talks amid much haggling from all sides.

Israeli Prime Minister Bejamin Netanyahu and Palestinian National Authority (PNA) President Mahmoud Abbas are set to arrive in Washington on Sept. 1, while, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Jordan's King Abdullah II, and the head of the Quartet, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, will also participate in the ceremony.

Speaking behind closed doors over the weekend, Netanyahu reportedly said he will demand to focus on security arrangements prior to addressing the issue of final borders of the future Palestinian state.

Meanwhile, chief PNA negotiator Saeb Erekat has made it clear that the Palestinians will opt out of the talks if Israel resumes its construction activity in the West Bank on Sept. 27, a day after the 10-month unilateral construction moratorium ends.

Israeli analysts were at odds on Sunday over the prospects of the renewed talks. Some claimed they are doomed to failure from the outset, while others voiced careful optimism.


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