Israelis Do Not Have High Hopes in Peace Talks

(Los Angeles Times) Yossi Klein Halevi - "The peace process is back," my friend said with bitter sarcasm, after four Israelis were killed in a terror attack just before Palestinian-Israeli negotiations got underway this week. The Oslo peace process of the 1990s was accompanied by waves of attacks by Hamas jihadists, which Israelis believe were tacitly orchestrated by their negotiating partner at the time, Yasser Arafat. Then, in September 2000, just as Israel accepted a Palestinian state and the re-division of Jerusalem, Arafat responded by launching a four-year terror war. But there is one crucial difference. Today, Israel is facing a negotiating partner who isn't instigating terrorism while feigning moderation. Abbas is engaged in a life-and-death power struggle with Iran's ally, Hamas. That is why he approved an unprecedented level of cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian security forces in the West Bank. In the Middle East, pessimism is almost always warranted. But if expectations are kept modest and the focus holds on the common jihadist threat, Palestinians and Israelis may yet surprise themselves. The writer is a fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.

2010-09-03 08:50:07

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