RAMALLAH, March 16 (Xinhua) -- Thought lotting on U.S. President Barack Obama's regional visit to roust up their stalled peace talks with Israel, the Palestinians do not over-raise the ceiling of expectations on America's role to help them achieve their cause this time.
Obama is scheduled to arrive in Israel on Wednesday and visit the West Bank the following day. He will hold separate meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders and officials during his three-day stay.
Observers believe that "the exploratory" visit of Obama could at least re-attract the world's attention to the Middle East peace process, as well as the needed stances to end a conflict that has been going on for decades.
Senior Palestinian officials hope that Obama could assert that the Israeli settlement is dangerous on the principle of the two- state solution, and wish that he might give the peace process a real opportunity by agreeing on establishing the Palestinian state and ending the Palestinian people's suffering.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat declined to give an in- advance impression of Obama's visit and its impacts on the peace process, but he stressed that the Palestinians are to brief Obama about their demands.
"Resuming the peace talks (with Israel) has to be based on a reference based on the establishment of a Palestinian state on 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital and put a clear timetable for starting and ending the talks with the full cessation of settlement and the release of prisoners," Erekat told Xinhua.
Erekat also said that Obama and the entire world "have to get from Israel one sentence that it accepts the principle of the two states according to 1967 borders and that it is committed to this principle."
"Israel does the contrary and tries to erase this principle from the world's memory and law," he said.
The Palestinian side also expresses concerns of the Israeli attempts to divert Obama's attention to the Iranian issue and the developments of the Syrian crisis, besides the Israeli-Palestinian talks, according to what Israel wants.
Ghassan al-Khatib, a political science professor in Ramallah, told Xinhua that Obama's visit to the region "is so important, because it ... comes after a long while of the American absence and negligence of the Israeli-Palestinian file of conflict."
"The visit may bring more interest and concern to the region and to the Israeli-Palestinian situation, especially with having more tools of pressure on Obama ... as well as the dangers that surround the principle of the two-state solution," said al-Khatib.
However, he said "we can't also expect miracles out of this visit. Most likely, this visit won't bring direct influence on our situation, but it is a start of care and it may lead to future breakthrough that puts an end to the frozen situation in the peace process, something that harms the world's interests."
Several weeks ago, a high-ranking Palestinian delegation held talks in Washington to discuss if Obama's visit could lead to paving the way for the resumption of the peace negotiations with Israel.
A well-informed Palestinian source told Xinhua that the U.S. administration told the Palestinian delegation headed by Erekat that the visit "will focus on exploring the parties positions and prepare for a proper ground to resume the stalled peace negotiations."
The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Washington expressed to the Palestinian side its understanding of the Palestinian need for establishing an independent Palestinian state, the threats of Israel's settlements, and implementing the principle of the two-state solution.
Direct peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians stopped in October 2010, just one month after it had been resumed in Washington. The Palestinian side decided to suspend the talks after the Israeli government refused to end settlement building in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Khalil Shahin, a member of a West Bank-based think-tank, told Xinhua that the Palestinian side should not make a prejudgment that Obama's visit "is going to fail," adding it "will be the ladder that would help the two sides to get down from the top of the tree."
"The visit represents a decisive turning point in the crisis management policy of President Obama, mainly after he was re- elected again as a president. This visit is a return to some form of negotiations, even if it is entitled to explore opportunities to negotiate the terms of negotiation," said Shahin.