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Netanyahu weighs collapse of peace talks

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must manage a right-wing coalition that has no interest in a release of Palestinian prisoners to keep the peace talks going.
Israeli soldiers and border policemen stand in front of a section of Israel's controversial barrier at Aida refugee camp in the West Bank town of Bethlehem March 24, 2014, where witnesses say Israeli forces confronted stone-throwing Palestinian protesters on Monday. REUTERS/Ammar Awad (WEST BANK - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR3IE2E

After long hours of discussion, a senior diplomatic-security forum that met last week [March 24] to discuss the immediate implications of a breakdown in the negotiations with the Palestinians released a pessimistic and worrisome report. The participants in the forum, which was sponsored by one of Israel’s leading research institutions, had played key roles for years on the diplomatic and security fronts, some of them until only recently. The purpose of this brainstorming session was to present potential scenarios in advance of the seemingly inevitable breakdown of the talks with the Palestinians.

Although there have long been similar prognoses of Israel’s diplomatic isolation should there be no peace process, the picture painted this time is even more depressing than usual. There was unanimity at the table that a negative outcome of the talks — renewed in June 2013 — would place Israel in an even more diplomatically problematic situation.

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