A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
August 31, 2010 Four Israelis Dies in Terror Attack Aimed At Disrupting Peace Talks
I was just starting to decide what to write about today, when the Israeli news broadcast was interrupted by news of a terrorist attack on four Israelis in the southern Hebron Hills. The attack, in which all four Israelis in the attacked car were killed, will no doubt cast a shadow on the talks, which officially begin tomorrow. Some attack had been expected, since Hamas has made clear its objections to the talks and it has a long record of trying to destroy the Peace Process with terror attacks, as it did successfully in the late 90’s. The Abbas government attempted to preempt an attack by rounding up Hamas supporters in the area, but obviously they did not succeed. As a result, Abbas lost one his strongest talking points-- the success his government has had in stopping terrorism. On the other hand, at least the Abbas government has not been two faced like the government of Arafat on the issue of terror.
The general consensus is that there is very little chance of the talks succeeding. Every once in a while you hear an alternative view. On one hand, what seems most clear is that lack of preparation on everyone's part. Neither the Israelis, nor the Palestinians, nor the Americans seem to have done the homework that precede summits of these kind. The lack of perceived preparedness has helped to lower expectations for the summit, beyond the obvious political limitations, under which both Netanyahu and Abbas are working. Although, maybe there is no need for preparation, since everyone knows what a peace agreement will have to look like if one is reached. Despite the pessimism, I am cautiously optimistic that the talks may surprise us.