A Windowless Peace Process
The last week has been quite eventful in Israel and the territories. One need only take a glance at Haaretz or Jerusalem Post website to see that things are far from calm. Here is just a brief sample of the major stories carried in the English-language Israeli press: The Israeli government may or may not have floated the idea of direct peace talks with Syria through Russian back channels, Hamas carried out demolitions of Palestinians homes in Gaza for illegal building and a faction of the Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade claimed responsibility for a shooting terror attack in the West Bank that wounded two Israelis.
And then we have the matter of the renewed peace talks, which seem opaque at best at times. It is unclear if progress is being made, and if so, in which particular areas of discussion. These “proximity talks” have been touted as a promising solution to the seemingly endless crisis, but to outside observers, it’s hard to maintain optimism about a process which is not particularly transparent and is happening at a time of great internal stress for both Israel and the Palestinian community. Most of what we do know has come in the form of speculation by scholars and former policy practitioners. Their opinions are valuable and interesting, but I find myself hungering for more direct information about the progress of the talks. It would be especially interesting to know if some of the more contentious issues, such as the status of Jerusalem and final borders are in fact being discussed by both sides, with Senator Mitchell acting as a messenger and mediator. With little to go on, though, it looks as though we will just have to wait and see.
-Daniel E. Levenson
Publisher and Editor-in-chief
The New Vilna Review