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“Proximity Talks”

5:50 PM, Jan 8, 2010 • By RACHEL ABRAMS
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Haaretz reports that “Washington is now considering the possibility of launching ‘proximity talks’ between Israel and the Palestinians, as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas continues to object to direct talks.”

Under this plan, U.S. special envoy George Mitchell and his staff would meet separately with both parties, present each side's positions to the other and then try to bridge the gaps.

This will come as great news for those who enjoy British farce—in which characters run back and forth from bedroom to bedroom carrying ill-fatedly garbled messages of love—and French farce, too—Tartuffe comes to mind, with Abbas in the title role (pious hypocrite), Hillary as Madame Pernelle (Tartuffe's dupe), and George Mitchell as Orgon (Tartuffe's double dupe).

Still, even for those who believe in the process-is-all inversion of reality that has characterized the U.S.’s thumbprint on the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Arabs for decades, this is a step in a backward direction.

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