Netanyahu Proposes Talks to Define Settlement Boundaries

US: Talks Would Enhance Netanyahu Credibility

According to Israeli officials, in last week’s talk with EU leaders, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he wants to hold talks with the Palestinians on an “understanding” of the borders of existing settlement blocs that would be annexed in a two-state solution.

US officials said the report was news to them, but also said the talks would “seriously enhance Israel’s diplomatic credibility.” Which is obviously why Israel wants to do it.

Which is also why such talks are probably unlikely to materialize, at least as proposed. The Palestinians are wanting some clarification on their own future borders.

Israel has for many years insisted they are getting to annex a bunch of settlements and blocs in any future peace deal, without too much definition of what is covered. Most settlements have rather nebulous borders, with a lot of stolen private land on their side of the fence.

The way the talks are being presented right now, it’s all about how much Israel gets to keep as a pre-condition, and not at all about what the Palestinians will get in return. While it would clearly boost the Israeli government after an acrimonious election campaign, it is unclear why the Palestinians would want to bother with such talks unless they also include a framework for what the Palestinians will get in the deal.

This has historically been the problem with piecemeal peace talks, as the fraction being discussed is almost always more important to one side than the other.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.