Peace Talks To Remain Constrained By Political Realities

BMI View: Momentum towards a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks has accelerated in recent days, yet cracks in the facade have quickly emerged. We retain our view that despite ongoing efforts by US Secretary of State John Kerry , the current political configuration in Israel, combined with the increasing fragmentation of the Palestinian Authority, will hind er any progress in negotiations.

Momentum towards a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks has accelerated in recent days, fuelled by the shuttle diplomacy of U S Secretary of State John Kerry, who has visited the region six times since February. On July 19, Kerry announced that Israeli and Palestinian representatives would meet in Washington 'within the next week or so' for preliminary talks towards resuming full negotiations. The following day, Israel announced it would free an unspecified number of long-serving Palestinian prisoners (a key Palestinian demand), while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a resumption of talks 'a vital and strategic interest for Israel' . The 22-member Arab League , a key political backer of the Palestinian Authority (PA) ruling the West Bank, has also endorsed a return to direct negotiations.

However, cracks in the facade have quickly emerged. Israeli officials cautioned on July 21 that no date had been set for sending negotiators to Washington, and that Netanyahu would seek cabinet authorisation before proceeding further - a procedure that is likely to shine additional light on the internal divisions of the Israeli government. Netanyahu's ruling coalition is comprised of parties with mutually incompatible views rega rding the Palestinian question, with Jewish Home (a pro-settler, nationalist party) and large elements of Netanyahu's own Likud party broadly opposed to any deal that would grant statehood to Palestinians. Ha'tnua is the only party in the government to openly favour peace talks, but holds a mere six seats in the 120-seats parliament .

Coalition Composition Limits Prospects For Peace
Israel - Composition Of The 19th Knesset

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