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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Five Ways To Gauge The Mideast Peace Talks

Secretary of State John Kerry stands between Israel's Justice Minister and chief negotiator Tzipi Livni, right, and Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, as they shake hands after the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Tuesday, July 30, 2013, at the State Department in Washington. (Charles Dharapak/AP)

Secretary of State John Kerry stands between Israel’s Justice Minister and chief negotiator Tzipi Livni, right, and Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, as they shake hands after the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Tuesday, July 30, 2013, at the State Department in Washington. (Charles Dharapak/AP)

Amid deep skepticism over the peace talks beginning today, some are seeing a few reasons for optimism. A veteran Middle East negotiator says there are five ways to tell if the talks are serious.

Aaron David Miller says Mideast peace talks are a good way to ruin brilliant State Department careers, but they also draw diplomats who love hopeless causes.

Miller praises Secretary of State John Kerry for his skill in bringing both sides to the table and keeping them there today despite the week’s news, which included Israel approving more construction in the West Bank, Palestinian rocket intercepted by Israel, Israeli fire into Gaza and the Israeli release of Palestinian prisoners, which has many Israelis upset.

But are the talks meaningful?

Miller says we’ll be able to tell by watching five things:

  1. Will the two sides maintain radio silence?
  2. Are folks writing things down?
  3. What’s happening away from the negotiating table?
  4. What are the tough guys saying?
  5. What’s the U.S. doing?

Guest

  • Aaron David Millervice president for new initiatives and a distinguished scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He served as a Middle East analyst, adviser and negotiator for Republican and Democratic secretaries of state from 1980 to 2003.

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