Israel-Palestine Talks on Horizon

At least both sides are still trying: after two decades of peace negotiations, Israel and Palestine are once again sitting down at the negotiating table. Of course, it won't be the same negotiating table—the talks will take place by proxy, with U.S. envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell reaching out to each side individually in Jerusalem and Ramallah. The talks, the first since Israel's war in Gaza began in 2008, are expected to last for about four months, and no one anticipates that they will produce a breakthrough. Both sides appear to have reached an informal agreement on the issue of Jewish settlement building in Jerusalem—planning officials have reportedly been told not to approve major settlement projects in East Jerusalem, Palestinian land currently occupied by Israel—which was the biggest barrier to restarting negotiations.