01/02/2012, 00.00
ISRAEL - PALESTINE
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Israelis and Palestinians meet in Jordan. Doubts about a resumption of official talks

The meeting will be held tomorrow in Amman, at the initiative of King of Jordan and Middle East peace Quartet. The aim is to recreate the conditions for future peace talks stalled since 2010 because of Israel's refusal to freeze settlements. The opinion of Bernard Sabella, a professor at Bethlehem University.
Tel Aviv (AsiaNews) - Talks between Israel and Palestine resume in Amman (Jordan) tomorrow more than one year after formal negotiations stopped in September 2010, following Tel Aviv’s refusal to freeze settlement building. Saeb Erekat, Palestinian negotiator, and Isaac Molho, representative for the Israeli prime minister Netanyau will meet tomorrow in the Jordanian capital. The meeting is supported by Abdullah II, King of Jordan and the Middle East Quartet - Russia, U.S., UN and European Union - to find an agreement between the parties as to a way forward in the resumption of dialogue. However, Israeli and Palestinian officials have downplayed the possibility a short term solution. Today, Erekat said that the talks will resume only if Israel stops settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem The Israeli government has responded by saying it does not want preconditions for dialogue.

Further complicating the resumption of negotiations are attempts at reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, which has always opposed the State of Israel. Last night, Nabil Shaath, a member of the al-Fatah party arrived in Gaza to meet Hamas leaders and to continue negotiations.

According to Bernard Sabella, a Palestinian Professor at the Pontifical University of Bethlehem, "the meeting tomorrow is a good attempt to revive negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians." He points out that the resumption of dialogue, however, is in the hands of the Israeli government: "As long as the State of Israel continues demolitions and settlements in the Palestinian territories pushed by the conservative wing, I doubt that there will be any developments" . "Many politicians - he adds - continue to regard Palestine as the territory of the State of Israel and this means that any attempt at negotiation in unbalanced in Tel Aviv’s favour."

Sabella, however, looks with hope to the Israeli movements that challenge the settlements and the continuation of the boundary wall. "These groups – he says - claim that construction of the wall and the military control of territories has made Palestinians second-class citizens and push for the government to change its position." "To this day - he says - no one is really interested in the peace process. The Israeli government is only concerned with its internal political problems and not the least interested in rethinking its dialogue strategy. The same applies to the United States which is gearing up for the presidential campaign in the coming months. But the Jordanian gesture is a sign of hope for the future. " (SC)

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