by Emad Drimly, Osama Radi
GAZA, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian analysts and observers ruled out on Saturday that the direct peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, which would kick off on Sept. 2 in Washington, would succeed, due to Israel's rejection to halting settlement and defining a reference for the talks.
DIRECT TALKS ONLY SERVE ISRAELI INTEREST
Hani al-Masri, chief of the Ramallah-based Bada'el research center, believed that the direct peace talks under such circumstances "only serve Israel's interests."
"The chances of success of the negotiations seem to be slim because the direct talks would be carried out without a defined and approved reference and without any Israeli commitment to halting settlement activities or to the principles of the peace process," al-Masri told Xinhua.
He called on the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to commit Israel to the international reference of the peace talks and to the complete cessation of settlement activities as a precondition for the resumption of the direct peace talks.
"I believe that Israel will rebuff the Palestinian requirements, " he said. Earlier on Saturday, President Mahmoud Abbas warned that he will withdraw from the talks if Israel resumes the settlement activities. Israel hasn't so far made any announcement that it would stop settlement activities in the Palestinian territories, mainly in the occupied East Jerusalem.
The last direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians stopped in December 2008 following a series of Israeli large-scale offensives on the Gaza Strip and also after the Israeli government refused to halt settlement and kept expanding settlements in the area of East Jerusalem.
SUBMISSION, INSTEAD OF SOLVING PROBLEMS
An Arab League committee okayed on July 29 in Cairo holding direct peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, while leaving the decision to resume the talks and setting up a schedule for it to the hands of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Naji Shurab, a political science professor at the Gaza-based al- Azhar University, said that the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations "have turned into a way of submission instead of a way of running the conflict between the two sides through peaceful ways."
"The future of any talks will depend on the role of the United States, which is the major and direct sponsor of the negotiations, " Shurab told Xinhua, adding "unfortunately, the U.S. is not fair and balanced to the two sides and only keeps pressuring on the Palestinian side."
Al-Masri said the U.S. administration and other international parties which called for the resumption of the direct peace talks with Israel "showed more concern of the shape of the talks, instead of the spirit and content."
CHANCES OF SUCCESS OF DIRECT TALKS ARE SLIM
Khalil Shahin, a political analyst from the West Bank, told Xinhua that the problem is not setting up a one-year time to finalize the talks, "the most important thing is to find the real political Israeli intention to finalize the talks within one year and reach a permanent status agreement."
Shahin said that the issues of the final status talks are clear and known to all parties, which are the issues of Jerusalem, settlement, refugees, security, borders, water and prisoners.
He added that these issues have always been negotiated and need to be agreed upon within one year.
"I believe that it is very difficult to reach a permanent status agreement at the end of the direct talks because that Israel insist on offering a Palestinian state with temporary borders has always been rejected by the Palestinians, which would lead to the failure of the talks," said Shahin.
Meanwhile, Hani al-Masri believed that the Palestinians showed a weak position after they accepted to go for direct talks without any written guarantees to halt settlement activities in the Palestinian territories or to define an international reference to the negotiations.