The point of President Obama's meetings this week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin was to get past a diplomatic spat. But once that's over, we'll merely return to the same old "stalemate" in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, says Dan Ephron in Newsweek. Obama is hoping to hold "proximity talks," with America acting as messenger and shuttling back and forth between representatives of the two sides. But without face-to-face meetings, Ephron says, there's little "real hope for a deal." Here's an excerpt:
"Are Israelis and Palestinians heading back to the bargaining table? That might be the upshot of President Obama's meeting in Washington with Prime Minister 'Bibi' Netanyahu. If so, the two sides will be seated at different tables this time, in different cities, for what the parties are calling "proximity talks." Proposed by the United States as a way of getting around Palestinian objections to face-to-face negotiations, the talks will be begin next month, with American mediators shuttling back and forth between the two sides. The good news is that the Middle East peace process is finally recommencing, after a 14-month impasse. The bad news: these talks are probably doomed from the start. Here's why.
1. Proximity talks have never worked. Israel and Syria tried them during 2008, with the Turks acting as message carriers (Turkish officials are now offering to do so again). The two delegations actually stayed in the same hotel in Istanbul during four sessions but never interacted in person. The result was a series of interesting exchanges but no concrete decisions, not even the obligatory confidence-building measures."
Read the entire article here
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Ted Cruz is the new Sarah Palin
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why you probably don't have Ebola — even if you shook hands with America's 'patient zero'
- Fall film guide: All the movies you should see in October
- Bill O'Reilly and Stephen Colbert are accidentally having a serious debate on ISIS
- Watch out, China — America is working on dogfighting drones
- The dumb war in Syria will haunt Democrats' 2014 prospects
- You're reheating pizza wrong
Subscribe to the Week