Just when you thought it was safe to be only highly skeptical of preliminary Arab-Israeli peace talks instead of extremely skeptical of preliminary Arab-Israeli peace talks, senior diplomats (from an unidentified nation—could be Swedish pranksters!) are telling Haaretz that the proposed confab between President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the upcoming United Nation’s General Assembly isn’t likely to happen—not least because, according to one of the diplomats, the White House has no plan for such a confab.
Abbas said last week that he’d be willing to meet with his Israeli counterpart. He then clarified yesterday, saying he wouldn’t meet with Netanyahu until the P.M. agreed to a complete settlement freeze. Still, rumors of an impending meeting prompted Shmuel Rosner of The New Republic to write, “the agreement of all sides to meet signals an end to the antagonism and bluster that have characterized U.S.-Israel relations since the beginning of Obama’s term”—which is as close to enthusiasm about peace as any Israeli pundit has come in the last six months. Indeed, the Haaretz disclosure runs counter to claims made recently by Israeli President Shimon Peres that a talk is being planned and facilitated by the U.S.