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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process To Resume Next Week

Syuzanna Petrosyan |
July 19, 2013 | 7:40 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer

Israeli/West Bank barrier (Syuzanna Petrosyan, Neon Tommy)
Israeli/West Bank barrier (Syuzanna Petrosyan, Neon Tommy)
At a news conference in Jordan, Secretary of State John Kerry, after months of diplomacy, announced that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will meet in Washington within a week to initiate a formal Middle East peace process.  

"We have reached an agreement that establishes a basis for resuming direct final status negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis," he told reporters in Jordan. 

The talks will mark an end to over three years of impasse between the Israelis and Palestinians. After the failure of the 2010 talks between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, many wonder what factors can make a difference in this round of talks. 

Among the officials taking part in the first round of negotiations will be Israel's Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and the Palestinians' chief negotiator Saeb Erekat.

Despite the positive news, many challenges lay ahead. Palestinian leadership disunity between the Gaza Strip and the Occupied West Bank creates significant roadblocks during negotiations. Furthermore, Palestinian Prime Minister’s Fatah Party has been continuously loosing legitimacy in the West Bank.  A significant part of the Palestinian leadership remained reluctant to launch negotiations which most Palestinians believe are designed to boost Israel’s international standing. 

Nonetheless, according to Anthony H. Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (Washington-based think tank), "It's unlikely that either side would've agreed to talk if they didn't believe that there was at least some prospect of improving their position." 

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister’s government comprises of officials who oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state or any halt to the growing Israeli settlement projects in the West Bank. Despite this, international pressure has increased on Netenyahu to move aggressively towards the peace process. 

According to an aid, the Secretary of State has told Mr. Abbas that the Israeli government has agreed to quietly curtail the building of West Bank settlements, but did not want to make a public announcement. However, in his speech, Mr. Kerry made no mention of issues such as the 1967 lines, recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, the Palestinian demands for a construction freeze in the settlements, or the release of prisoners.

ALSO SEE: Your Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process Glossary


Reach Executive Producer Syuzanna Petrosyan hereFollow her on Twitter.  



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