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Israel's Settlement Plan Threatens Talks Before They Begin

Israel's decision to approve more settlements only adds to the widely held view that it is not interested in peace with the Palestinians.
Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel speaks to reporters at a ceremony announcing the resumption of construction of an Israeli neighbourhood in East Jerusalem August 11, 2013. Israel moved forward on Sunday with plans to build nearly 1,200 new homes for Jewish settlers holding fast to a defiant settlement policy just days before its expected release of Palestinian prisoners.       REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun (JERUSALEM - Tags: POLITICS) - RTX12HFR

Whenever peace negotiators agree to hold secret peace talks, rumors tend to fill the information gap. The absence of regular, updated news and comments on the day’s events and statements plays into the hands of radical groups whose aim is to thwart and derail any potential progress in the negotiations.

When the second round of Israeli-Palestinian talks begins Aug. 14 in Jerusalem, a number of questions will have to be answered. They vary from the personnel participating in the talks to the agenda to the follow-up of the negotiations. Furthermore, it is unclear whether the launch of the talks will have any effect, positive or negative, regarding the situation on the ground, especially the conditions of the Palestinians living under occupation.

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