In early March a deal for indirect peace talks between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority was foiled by Israeli settlement expansions announced on the eve of he talks. It now seems the talks may happen after all.
According to Israeli Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, “understandings” have been reached that will allow the talks to start within the next two weeks, though the exact date has not been set.
Though the Israeli official obviously refused to confirm it, speculation is that the Palestinians are contented with the de facto settlement freeze in East Jerusalem reported yesterday. Palestinian officials will meet in Cairo on May 1 to discuss joining the new talks, but early indications are that they will do so.
The indirect peace talks would use the United States as an intermediary. Exactly how much is to be accomplished in this sort of discussion is unclear, but with Palestinians expressing hope for a state by 2011 and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu expressing some openness to a state with temporary borders, hopes are understandably high.