- China City of America mulled for New York — with $65M tax dollars
- Yemen defense ministry rocked by suicide bomber, gunfire
- Hack attack: 2 million Facebook, Twitter passwords stolen
- Mystery deepens over radioactive cobalt-60 stolen in Mexico
- No mas: Principal bans Spanish language in intercom announcement
- Hacking software could put ‘zombie drone army’ in user’s hands
- Support for stricter gun laws drops: poll
- 10 whales dead, 41 others stranded in Everglades
- John Boehner faces bipartisan pressure to allow gay-rights vote
- Martin Bashir resigns from MSNBC over ‘ill-judged’ comments about Sarah Palin
Amid Mideast revolt, a chance for Israeli-Palestinian peace
Kerry taps Indyk as envoy to Israeli-Palestinian talks
As Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met at a State Department dinner Monday night for their first direct talks in more than three years, some in Washington’s foreign policy community said ongoing meltdowns in other Middle Eastern nations may have created a rare window for peace between the two sides.
“There are too many things happening in the region, too many countries that are in a state of flux and, ironically, that’s actually producing an incentive to get these negotiations going again,” said Aram Nerguizian, a senior fellow on the Middle East at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
With particular regard to the motivations of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose government made the unexpected move of freeing 104 Palestinian prisoners Sunday, Mr. Nerguizian offered a sobering assessment: “When everything is burning around you, you don’t need a fire at home, too.”
He made the remarks on a day in which President Obama vowed his full support for a two-state solution in the decades-old conflict and Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced the appointment of Martin Indyk, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, to serve as special U.S. envoy to the negotiations.
With peace talks having broken down in 2010 amid disputes over Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, Mr. Kerry told reporters on Monday afternoon that the pursuit now of “reasonable compromises has to be a keystone of all this effort.”
“I know the negotiations are going to be tough,” said the secretary of state, who personally hosted Monday night’s dinner at Foggy Bottom. “But I also know that the consequences of not trying could be worse.”
Middle East analysts in Washington have expressed little more than guarded optimism toward the restarting of talks.
The question, said Mr. Makovsky, who heads the institute’s Project on the Middle East Peace Process, is whether Israeli and Palestinian negotiators succeed in isolating the key individual issues that have long caused friction between the two sides, such as border agreements, security, the status of Jerusalem and refugee populations.
“I think if they try to do it all, they may fail,” he said. “But if they try to settle for less and don’t overreach, they may achieve things.”
The two sides’ views
The evolving circumstances of the region, however, may be fueling desires among Israeli and Palestinian leaders — albeit for different reasons — to break ground.
“The security environment Israel finds itself in make it that much more important to engage now in a meaningful process,” he said. “Any reduction in tension or instability will have a positive impact on Israeli security because it will potentially then lead to things like normalization with other countries in the region.”
As for the Palestinians, Mr. Nerguizian said, they view the situation as “not much brighter.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Guy Taylor rejoined The Washington Times in 2011 as the State Department correspondent.
As a freelance journalist, Taylor’s work was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and the Fund For Investigative Journalism, and his stories appeared in a variety publications, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to Salon, Reason, Prospect Magazine of London, the Daily Star of Beirut, the ...
- U.S., Chinese diplomats talk air defense zone ahead of Biden visit
- State mulling whether to invite Iran to upcoming Syria talks
- Election strengthens Honduran military's hand
- U.S. B-52 bombers buzz China's expanded airspace as dispute with Japan escalates
- Obama defends Iran nuclear deal, attacks critics for 'bluster'
Latest Blog Entries
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- Apple wins facial recognition patent for iPhone 6
- 'Harry Potter' and 'Hunger Games' fans debate over political messages in films
- Democratic infighting erupts with squabble over entitlements
- Young and healthy millennials create risky imbalance by shunning Obamacare
- Obamas call to close Vatican embassy is 'slap in the face' to Roman Catholics
- Allen West warns Obamas backdoor gun control is moving forward
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- Susan Rice slams Russia, China on human rights
- U.S. debt jumps a record $328 billion tops $17 trillion for first time
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
A libertarian look at breaking news and political trends by author Tom Mullen.
A stat-head’s outlook, direct from his worn in couch cushion.
Playing Through covers the world of PGA golf, as well as tips your the average golfer to play better.