US Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Friday that Israel and the Palestinians are set to resume direct peace talks. The final agreement for reestablishing talks is still being finalized, Kerry said in a press release. He did not release details of what concessions were made to get to this point.
Kerry did note that both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made key decisions to renew the talks.
“Both of them have chosen to make difficult choices here, and both of them were instrumental in pushing in this direction. We wouldn’t be standing here tonight if they hadn’t made the choices.”
The sides haven’t engaged in direct negotiations for almost three years. Keep an eye on the region, because past efforts to restart peace talks have led to new violence by Palestinian rejectionists. That could raise oil prices over regional tensions.
Based on the Palestinians’ history to date, I’m not hopeful here. At best, I expect Israel will be forced into one-sided compromises.
Still, I am surprised the Palestinians even agreed to talk based on reports of where things sat earlier.
Keep watching and I’ll have more on this as things become clear.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, July 19, 2013)