Tags: Mideast | peace | process.crisis

Mideast Peace Process Mired in Deep Crisis

Wednesday, 18 November 2009 09:55 PM

JERUSALEM — Two weeks after the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, vowed not to run for re-election and hinted that he might resign, the Middle East peace process has sunk into a deep crisis amid urgent efforts to revive it.

The Israeli security establishment is in a state of alarm over the possible departure of Mr. Abbas, whom it considers a genuine moderate. Some of its top members are urging their government to make far-reaching offers — “not just lifting a few roadblocks,” in the words of one — that would persuade him to stay in power and resume negotiations with Israel on a solution that involves creating an independent Palestinian state.

Palestinian leaders are looking elsewhere for salvation. Aware of their own weakness, but also of rising disillusionment abroad with Israel over West Bank settlement growth and its war in Gaza in January, they are hoping to turn frailty to their advantage by appealing to the international community to come to their rescue.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration and European governments are also seeking ways to restart the peace talks and keep Mr. Abbas in place.

“Everyone is running around in circles trying to rebuild this process, to find some way to start it up again,” a senior Israeli official observed. “No one knows if it is possible.”

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Wednesday, 18 November 2009 09:55 PM
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