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Mistrust Clouds Israeli-Palestinian talks

According to a Palestinian source, no understanding has been reached so far by the negotiating parties.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat (C) directs remarks to Israel's Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (L) during a news conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) at the end of talks at the State Department in Washington July 30, 2013. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators held their first peace talks in nearly three years on Monday in a U.S.-brokered effort that Kerry hopes will end their conflict despite deep divisions. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst    (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTX124ZT
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From the moment that American Secretary of State John Kerry announced the renewal of talks between Israelis and Palestinians on July 19, very few believed that an agreement would be signed at the end of the nine months. The optimists reckoned that while it was possible to end the conflict, the time allotted to it was too short. The prime minister’s representatives and associates fed this optimism when they explained that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu understood that he would be forced to make painful decisions in exchange for peace with the Palestinians. The pessimists reckoned that the time factor was the smaller hurdle in the obstacle course traversed by the negotiating teams. But neither the optimists nor the pessimists anticipated that after only three months of talks, every spark of hope would disappear and the only issue on the table would be who was at fault.

The Palestinian negotiating team resigned, but Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) was delaying his acceptance of the resignation in an attempt to persuade Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and Mohammed Shtayyeh to change their minds. The chairman of the authority did not want the Americans to claim that the Palestinians were the ones to torpedo the talks. In other words, the economic aid that John Kerry promised to the authority was the only thing that prevented Abu Mazen from announcing the failure of the negotiations.

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