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News Analysis: Hope slim to revive peace talks as deadline passes

English.news.cn   2014-05-01 00:59:30

by Adam Gonn

JERUSALEM, April 30 (Xinhua) -- The peace process between Palestinians and Israelis would enter into another hiatus, and the U.S. will keep its distance until there is clear sign that both sides want the U.S. to mediate, analysts said.

Israel and the Palestinian National Authority resumed peace talks in July 2013 following persistent attempts by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to revive the peace process, after a three- year halt in official diplomatic contacts. The talks will end on April 29.

"The Americans will wait for signs from the parties that they want the U.S. to sort it out. They aren't going to do something unless the parties ask them to do," Dr. Jonathan Rynhold of the Bar-Ilan University told Xinhua.

However, with the two sides blaming each other for being responsible for the collapse of the talks it's unlikely that they ask the Americans to come back any time soon.

Dr. Mark Heller of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv said that he "doubts that the talks will be resumed very soon." "Everybody is going to take a deep breath and see where they stand."

The crisis between the two sides started when Israel decided to postpone the release of the fourth and last group of Palestinian prisoners as agreed upon following Kerry's insistence last year. The last group was extra sensitive to Israel since it included Israeli-Arabs, with Israeli citizenship, convicted of killing Israelis.

To make matters worse the Palestinians decided to apply for membership of 15 United Nations organizations, a move that Israel and the U.S. saw as a breach of an understanding not to seek unilateral action while the talks were ongoing.

Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement last week announced that they had reached a deal with Hamas to establish a unity government that would see the West Bank and Gaza once again coming under unified rule.

Not only did this move anger the Israeli government, but it also gave Israeli right-wing politicians another example of what they see as Abbas' refusal to take the tough decisions needed to make peace.

In addition, its likely that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu feel's that Abbas made a fool of him for the release of the first three groups of prisoners before siding with Hamas. This makes it unlikely that Netanyahu would be willing to undertake any future confidence building measures such as releasing prisoners or freezing settlement construction.

Editor: yan
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