JERUSALEM, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- Israeli and Palestinians negotiators met in Jerusalem on Wednesday for a second round of peace talks. Despite positivity expressed by both sides, the chance of a major breakthrough remains slim.
Among other things, the Israeli government's right-wing inclination and the Palestinians' reluctance to compromise constitute two major obstacles in the peace process, Israeli analysts say.
While the Israeli government approved the release of the Palestinian prisoners as a goodwill gesture, it also endorsed constructing 1,900 new housing units in Jewish settlements in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.
The two conflicting decisions show the complexity that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has to deal with in balancing advancing the peace process with the Palestinians and keeping all of his cabinet members happy.
Guy Ben-Porat, an analyst with Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, said "because of its makeup, the Israeli government can't really go too far with the peace process. The right-wing parties in the government have said very clearly that they are okay as long as it's only talking, not going any more than that."
Itamar Rabinovich, a professor at Tel Aviv University, pointed out that one of the key partners in the ruling coalition is the right-wing and pro-settlement HaBayit HaYehudi party, whose leader Naftali Bennett has threatened to leave the government if Netanyahu agrees to hand over land to the Palestinians, a move that will cause the government to collapse.
Moreover, Netanyahu's position is weak not only within the government, but also within his own Likud party, Rabinovich said, pointing out that the party is sliding rightward with many of its moderates being replaced by hardliners whose views are closer to those of HaBayit HaYehudi.
So, if Netanyahu wants to do something drastic to promote peace, he might need to follow in the footsteps of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who left Likud to found a new party, Kadima.
"If Netanyahu decides to make a legacy and a crowning achievement, which I hope he will, he has to do what Sharon did and make a major deal with the Palestinians," Rabinovich said.
PALESTINIANS' RELUCTANCE TO COMPROMISE
The negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in October 2010 due to the Jewish country's expansion of settlement activities in east Jerusalem and the West back.
Despite international efforts to revive it, the peace process only restarted in late July after months of intensive mediation by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry since he took office in February.
The main reason behind the long suspension is the Palestinians' insistence on conditioning Israel's freeze of settlement activities to the talks' resumption.
After the negotiations did restart, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas demanded Israel revive the peace plan presented to him by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008, which proposed Israel should withdraw from 94 percent of the West Bank.
Moreover, Rabinovich said the Palestinian president "is not in control of Gaza," a Palestinian enclave ruled by the Islamic movement of Hamas, who opposes the state of Israel and any peace talks with it.
In the current round of negotiations, the Palestinians are unlikely to be less obstinate than before, which means the chance of a major breakthrough remains slim.