3 Jan 2012

Israel and Palestine to discuss two-state solution "Talks to start talks about talks"

For the first time in over a year, representatives from Tel Aviv and Ramallah will sit down at the negotiating table and once again attempt to resolve the Middle East peace deadlock. The meeting is scheduled to take place in neighboring Jordan.

But even though many are excited to see Palestinian and Israeli negotiators at the same table, some, including the concerned parties themselves, say the meeting is only a discussion to figure out howand indeed whetherthe negotiations can proceed.

Palestine continues to insist on a construction freeze on settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. It also wants acceptance of Israel’s 1967 borders as the basis for the two-state solution. Israel in turn says no preconditions can be placed on the negotiations, which need to deal with all the issues in play.

Tension in the Middle East is palpable even with both sides constantly downplaying the importance of the meeting in Jordan, refusing even to call it a “negotiation”. But pressure is mounting, as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned of potential “new measures” against Israel if Tuesday’s meeting fails to bring about a resumption of the peace talks.

RT’s Middle Eastern Bureau chief Paula Slier says both the Israelis and the Palestinians are being cautious – which is in itself a good sign. “What most people are hoping for is that both sides come to the party and just put forward where they stand and what they are prepared to do”, Slier told RT. Source

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