US to jumpstart peace talks, but Israeli FM says it's impossible

Monday, December 28, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

The Obama Administration is preparing a major relaunch of peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians, but Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said they are doomed to fail.

A senior Arab diplomat told the AFP in Cairo on Monday that "US special envoy George Mitchell will present two draft letters of guarantee, one for Israel and one to the Palestinian Authority during his next visit to the region."

He said Washington hopes the two letters will serve as the basis for renewed peace talks, though the diplomat himself doubted it would work since the letter to the Palestinians does not include the demanded full cessation of Jewish construction in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.

A day earlier, Lieberman said it is increasingly clear that a real peace agreement cannot be concluded in the next 10 to 20 years.

"We think that if we make more concessions everything will work out," the Jerusalem Post quoted Lieberman as telling a gathering of Israel's 140 ambassadors in Jerusalem. "Even if we return the last grain of sand, and divide Jerusalem, and agree to all the demands, nothing will change and we will be in the same situation."

Lieberman said that Israel had already gone above and beyond in its concessions and gestures for the sake of peace, including allowing the PLO terrorist organization to move into the region and set up as a sovereign power and uprooting 10,000 Jews from the Gaza Strip.

On top of that, former prime ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert had been willing to meet as much as 98 percent of remaining Palestinian demands, only to be slapped in the face by their "peace partners."

"It doesn't matter what we offer, they will always find an excuse to say 'no,'" noted Lieberman.

Pointing out that the Palestinians cannot even remain united themselves, as evidenced by the Hamas-Fatah conflict, Lieberman lamented that there is little hope the current generation will see peace.

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