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Peace Talks Continue Despite Rising Mideast Tensions

The world is looking at Syria and Egypt while Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in Washington continue discreetly.
Tzipi Livni (R), Israel's Justice Minister and chief negotiator for renewed peace talks with the Palestinians, gives a joint statement with France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius before their meeting in Jerusalem August 25, 2013. REUTERS/Baz Ratner (JERUSALEM - Tags: POLITICS) - RTX12VTP
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It’s all happening very quietly, beneath the radar, which is now aimed at Syria. There’s a parallel world out there, where the winds of war have yet to reach. The people who inhabit that world hadn’t exchanged a word between them until a few weeks ago. They were completely cut off from one another, separated by a raging dispute, and they presented each other with terms and conditions, before they even got back to talking. In the end, they conceded. They got off their high horses, made up, and started talking. They’ve been talking and talking ever since, without anything diverting them from the reason of their meeting.

Stubborn rumors about an impending war and coalitions being formed by the armies all around them haven’t ruffled their feathers. Talk about the use of chemical weapons and the hundreds of missiles aimed at them are no bother whatsoever. They don’t leave a dent in their schedules. Even a very violent incident, which took place very near to where they met — and which, in days past, would have resulted in a full frontal clash between them — barely moved them at all this time. They just carried on doing what they were doing. Skeptics and pessimists who expected the talks to last days at best, if not hours, until they inevitably fell apart, are absolutely stunned by what they see. The rest of the world may be in turmoil, but Justice Minister [responsible for negotiations] Tzipi Livni and Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat still insist on talking about peace.

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