The Jordan Times (Editorial)
February 12, 2010 - 1:00am

The Palestinian side seems to have caved in to the US demand to restart negotiations with Israel. The only condition this time, is to have talks conducted indirectly!
So far so good, except for the fact that since direct talks with Israel went nowhere for so long, one wonders what the wisdom of continuing to talk is.

The Palestinian Authority must have been pressured to talk to Israel. The issue of a freeze of Jewish settlement activity as a prerequisite to talks, encouraged by US President Barack Obama’s much touted statements, had, however, to be foregone. As a face-saving measure for the PA, which was obviously forced to back down on its demands, talks, it was decided, will be held indirectly. Whatever that may mean, or yield.

Since Obama himself was unsuccessful in putting an end to the Israeli colonisation process, the Palestinian side must have arrived at the conclusion that it, too, is doomed to fail.

Such realisation may be understandable, but it is difficult to understand what the Palestinians hope to achieve through indirect talks. What miracle could change the ugly facts Israel created on the ground that are accepted as undisputable by the world community?

Israeli prime ministers, past and present, have thrived on this engagement game. Talks, the way they are conducted, are open ended and inconclusive. They do not compel Israel to comply with international legitimacy, project Tel Aviv as seriously interested in pursuing peace and gain Israel more time to finish its expansionist programme.

Talks, direct or indirect, seem to turn around the same issues, with no decisive outcome. Why, then, would the PA lose more ground and popularity by accepting to engage in more of the same?

The ground rules are there. Resolutions have been issued by the highest authority, the UN, spelling out the terms for solving the Arab-Israeli problem. What is left is strong will -Arab and international - to implement said decisions, Israel’s wishes notwithstanding.


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