NYT analysis believes Israel-Palestine talks a non-starter

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New York, Aug. 21 (ANI):There is little confidence and possibly close to none on either the Israeli side or the Palestinian side about the Obama administration's ability to reach a comprehensive Middle East deal within the next year.

Though the leaderships of both countries have accepted Friday's invitation for talks that are to take place in the first week of September, most analysts view the event as a pairing between the unwilling and the unable i.e. a strong right-wing Israeli coalition led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with no desire to reach an agreement against a relatively moderate Palestinian leadership that is too weak and divided to do so.

The New York Times quoted Zakaria al-Qaq, vice president of Al Quds University and a Palestinian moderate, as saying: "These direct negotiations are the option of the crippled and the helpless. It is an act of self-deception that will lead nowhere."

The paper quoted Israel's pre-eminent political columnist, Nahum Barnea, as saying: "Most Israelis have decided that nothing is going to come out of it, that it will have no bearing on their lives. So why should they care?"

Israeli Minister Yossi Beilin said the Obama administration was wrong to set a one-year goal without assessing the consequences of such a move.

"I think this is a huge mistake by the U.S. administration. There is not a chance in the world that in a year - or two or three - peace can be achieved. The gap between the sides is too big. Netanyahu did not come to power to divide Jerusalem or find a solution to the Palestinian refugees," the NYT quoted Beilin, as saying.

Most Palestinians, and many on the Israeli left, say there are now too many Israeli settlements in the West Bank for a viable, contiguous Palestinian state to arise there. Moreover, support for many of the settlements remains relatively strong in Israel.

In other words, if this view holds, the Israelis have closed out any serious option of a two-state solution. So the talks are useless, the paper concludes in a news analysis. (ANI)

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