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Elections or Peace?

2:29 PM, Jan 12, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Elliott Abrams, writing in the Wall Street Journal

Last week Israelis and Palestinians held talks for the first time since September 2010. Back then, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met at the White House, under bright lights and with great expectations, along with Jordanian King Abdullah and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. In a matter of weeks the talks failed—and Mr. Mubarak didn't last much longer himself. What to expect this time?

For starters, note that these talks—hosted in Amman by the Jordanian government—aren't even "negotiations." The Palestinians made clear that these were only discussions of whether negotiations are possible. The most one can hope for is that these exploratory talks extend for several more months or lead at some point to a Netanyahu-Abbas session. This is kicking the can down the road, to be sure, but that is a reasonably accurate way of describing the "peace process" anyway.

Whatever the hopes in Washington or European capitals, Israelis and Palestinians don't expect a breakthrough. Instead, they're focused on three elections: America's, the definite one; the Palestinian Authority's, scheduled for May 4; and Israel's, which Mr. Netanyahu may call later this year.

Whole thing here.

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