- (Reuters/Eli Hershkowitz)
Palestine and Israel have agreed to meet in Jordan for their first talk in over one year. Analysts are skeptical as to whether the countries will be able to move forward in peace talks.
Israeli envoy Yitzhak Molcho and Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat are set to meet today in Jordan, along with international mediators. Erekat spoke with The Associated Press yesterday and said, “We hope that the Israeli government would reciprocate the Jordanian efforts by announcing cessation of settlement activities and the acceptance of the concept of the two-state solution.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement saying, “We welcome and support this positive development. We are hopeful that this direct exchange can help us move forward on the pathway proposed by the Quartet.”
The Quartet Clinton spoke of is made up of representatives from the United Nations, European Union, United States, and Russia. The plan proposed by this group includes the surrender of Israeli territory, the recognition of a Palestinian state and full support for both nations.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said that his country is willing to work with Israel, provided that Israel agrees to let go of its territory and return to pre-1967 land lines. Should Israel accept these terms, Abbas said, “we will go to negotiations. After that date [Jan. 26], we will take new measures. These measures might be hard.”
Israel is already recognized as an independent state and ally of the U.S., U.N., and European Union. Palestine has sought to be become a member of the United Nations but was denied in 2011.
Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister, Dan Meridor, told Army Radio, “This is the first time in a long time that the Palestinians are prepared to speak with us directly. If they want to reach an agreement, now is the time.”
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak added that his government wouldn’t agree to talks that do not “exclude the right of each side to make demands and propose confidence-building measures.”
The two countries have been at odds since 1967, and multiple world leaders have attempted to broker peace between the nations. U.S. President Obama took office in 2008 and stated that he was hopeful a peace treaty would be signed.
Israeli and Palestinian officials and civilians have expressed doubts about the success of today’s talks and whether there will be any progress made toward reconciliation.