Global Politics

Middle East trip over

Horovitz remains skeptical that Rice was able to move Israelis and Palestinians any closer to implementing a peace deal. (What does it mean that within hours of Rice's leaving, Israel announces the building of 600 new homes in East Jerusalem?) it highlights the differences in opinion between not only Israel and the Palestinians but also Israel and the US. Rice has been outspoken in opposing such construction. (So it sounds like Israel is completely ignoring the US on the settlement issue?) Well the settlement issue is not the same as the East Jerusalem issue. The settlement issue is a contentious one even amongst Israelis. But East Jerusalem is not considered as an area where settlements are built. (Rice and the Palestinian President both said they're confident a peace deal could be signed by the end of this year. What are diplomats saying about this prospect? Is it at all realistic?) Well first separate this announcement from implementing a deal. Core principals could be agreed on, but it could be impossible to implement it. (Did anything concrete happen from this trip?) Israelis agreed to remove some roadblocks in the West Bank, more Palestinian security forces could be deployed in some West Bank cities and so on. We've heard in the past about such measures being contemplated and some Israelis still worry about more violence. (Does Rice have less credibility now because she's working for a lameduck President?) there's less leverage and credibility at this point, but Iran's nuclear drive is making this most difficult. If Iran is thwarted, it might embolden the US side.

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