Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Palestinian-Israeli Detente: Peace Talks A-Go Go

Washington, D.C. -- In a game familiar to all sides, President Barack Obama had Secretary of State Hilary Clinton invite the players for yet another round of Arab-Israeli
peace talks.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will arrive around the first of the month for one-on-one meetings with the President and aceremonial summit billed as another attempt to hammer out differences over Israeli expansion into Palestinian territory, new Israeli settlement building in the West Bank, and an end to the need for Palestinian smuggling in the Gaza

Mr. Netanyahu not only welcomed the talks, he issued a
statement remarking "the American clarification that the
talks would be without preconditions."

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told media outlets
that the guidelines laid down for the talks are "doable,"
that "It's time for decisions."

A product of a high stakes gamble by the so-called
"Quartet," a special team of negotiators from the U.S., The
European Union, Russia and the United Nations, the scenario
is nothing new to international observers, whose reactions
have been flat in spite of the media hyperbole surrounding
the announcement.

Consider the words of the Stratfor analyst, George Friedman.

"Mutual fear is the foundation of peace among enemies,"
according to the veteran intelligence expert who writes a
regular report on hot spots for the private information
service based in Austin.

Unlike the time when U.S. President Jimmy Carter brokered a
peace accord between Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin
and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, in this case there is no
real impetus for results.

Following the 1973 war, "Both Egypt and Israel were shocked
and afraid," he wrote this week. "The uncertainty of the
future sobers both sides."

In this war of words, he added, "But the United States wants
a peace process, preferably a long one designed to put off
the day when it fails."

He's not alone in his skepticism.

Critical thinkers point out that Mr. Abbas is "only in
control of one half of the Palestinian territories,
following the takeover of the Gaza Strip by the Islamist
Hamas group in 2007," said a report from "The Financial

Besides, FT's Jerusalem Correspondent Tobias Buck pointed
out, "...the chief Palestinian negotiator has already warned
that the Palestinians will pull out of the new talks if the
Israeli government announces further settlement building..."

"Without a doubt, we will hit more obstacles, said Mrs. Clinton.
"But I ask the parties to continue
working to achieve a just and lasting peace in the region."

It's more like a just and lasting round of peace talks,
according to veteran international observers in arms
production, petroleum drilling, transportation and private
security services.

The story goes like this.

The Israeli right is pressing to resume settlement building
in Palestinian strongholds. The deadline on the moratorium
is fast approaching.

This brings the traditional balance of power into play.

It's common knowledge that pro-Western republics such as
Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Emirates, Kuwait, Jordan, Syria and
Egypt are publicly hostile to Israeli and American
sentiments while at the same time they depend for survival
against an onslaught of radical Islamic aggression from such
rogue states as Iraq and Iran on the hegemony of American
and Israeli military might and nuclear weapons capabilities.

Hence, the long, drawn-out peace talk process has its
advantages for all sides.

In a world of many flags unfurled and a constant racket of
clattering, clashing sabers, the prospects of peace talks
well underway by late September is a refreshing change to
what looks to be a long, hot detente filled with brush fire
wars and flare-ups.

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