This week Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu is traveling in England and is sitting down with U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell to discuss Iran, the West Bank, and the future of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
The U.S., Britain and France are already planning to push the U.N. to include gas and oil in the embargo against Iran, which would be a death-blow of sorts for their economy. Netanyahu also reportedly told British Prime Minister Gordon Brown that any peace talks would have to include a discussion of demilitarizing Palestine.
That is not likely to be part of the deal from the Palestinian perspective.
Netanyahu also said that the Israeli government is will not negotiate about Jerusalem being a joint Israel-Palestinian capital. Not a surprise- that would be an incredibly difficult feat to pull off and would have the potential to spark even further violence over control of specific sites and areas within the city. While the approach was attempted in Berlin, the inequality and economic disparity was immense due to the different controlling countries- I wonder how it would work out in Jerusalem, though. If the U.S. were backing the Israeli portion, who would be the powerful backers of the Palestinian side? No matter- it’s not happening, according to Netanyahu. What could be happening and what is really on the table this time around is the settlements in the West Bank.
Mitchell is offering to take a stronger stance against Iran on the nuclear front in exchange for Netanyahu halting all settlement building for Israelis in the West Bank. That kind of a move is said to be not popular in the Israeli general population, so Netanyahu is likely to not be overly receptive.
The larger picture is that everyone is gearing up for and positioning themselves for the upcoming U.N. meeting, and there are hopes that Netanyahu will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss how to work with the U.S. government on ramping up peace talks in the Middle East once again.
I remember this being a huge issue in youth, and now, with all of the other wars and environmental concerns and economic difficulty all over the place, this seems like it is dragging on into a time when there should be energy behind peace talks- if not for the sake of peace itself, then for the sake of peace of mind dealing with the other more pressing issues.