Kerry Testing a New Path Toward Israeli-Palestinian Peace
While the latest round of peace talks has its detractors and naysayers, others believe this is worth trying again, and this time could be different.
Mideast peace has long been the Everest of diplomatic mountains, and those who’ve tried to scale it have generally followed the same route: small steps by each side to give both the confidence to take bolder ones.Even as skeptics bet against Secretary of State John Kerry’s new peace effort, analysts such as Aaron David Miller say the top U.S. diplomat has made small changes to the familiar approach that could improve his odds of success. The talks between Israel and the Palestinians are scheduled to continue on Aug. 14 in Jerusalem, the State Department said yesterday, and Kerry has tried to minimize the pressure on both parties by wrapping the terms for the negotiations in a veil of secrecy.The secretary has drawn lessons from previous U.S. attempts to broker peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The most important may be the one that at first impression is the riskiest: Kerry insists on discussing all the most difficult core issues now -- borders, the return of Palestinian refugees, the future of Jerusalem, settlements and security -- instead of putting them off, as past negotiators have done.
“You’re talking about a secretary of state whose absolutely committed to talking about the five core issues that drive the Arab-Israeli conflict,” said Miller, a former Mideast peace negotiator who is vice president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. “As long as he does that, the prospect of the confidence-building measures that have failed over and over again in the past take on a whole new traction.”
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