US security coordinator Gen. James Jones was scheduled to arrive in Israel on Tuesday in what was somewhat ominously described as his final visit before throwing in the towel on reaching any kind of agreement between Israel and the Palestinians before President George W. Bush leaves office.
Ha'aretz reported that Jones was to meet with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian counterparts in a last-ditch effort to hammer out a document defining Israel's security needs.
The Bush Administration hopes that by producing an official document determining what Israel does and does not need to maintain its security, it can more easily extract the Israeli concessions needed to convince the Palestinians to accept a final status peace deal.
Israeli defense sources told the newspaper that there was little chance of a breakthrough before Bush leaves office. The Israelis also said Jerusalem would not agree to define its security needs absent of progress on Palestinian compliance with their obligations.