Low Expectations May Be a Helpful Start for Mideast Talks

[New York Times] Ethan Bronner - For a process that evokes little optimism on either side, there is an awful lot of diplomatic activity just now aimed at restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Two high-level Israeli officials are in Washington trying to finalize a modified settlement freeze with the American Mideast envoy George Mitchell. The Israeli public largely agrees with their prime minister that the problem is not settlements but Arab rejection of a Jewish state and the inability of the Palestinians to pursue coexistence given the Hamas rejectionists who rule in Gaza. American and European mediators say they have learned much from previous failures. Negotiations cannot simply occur at the top without on-the-ground progress. That is why so much effort is being put into changes in the West Bank - security, economy, freedom of movement. The mediators also seem to hope that low expectations all around may actually make it easier to achieve results.

2009-09-03 08:00:00

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