Renewed attempts to move towards face to face talks between Israel and the Palestinians got off to a slow start yesterday in Cairo.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pushing for the direct negotiations and wants Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak to bring the Palestinians to the table.
But most Arab nations want to see Israel to make the first move.
Egyptian Foreign Minister, Ahmed Abu El Gheit said:
“ Israel must take strategic steps to strengthen Palestinian trust, that’s how we can move from indirect negotiations to direct ones.”
The Palestinians have told US special envoy to the region, George Mitchell, that freezing Jewish settlement construction was a pre condition for the talks. With no movement on that score Arab calls to declare a Palestinian state unilaterally are growing.
But political analyst Emad Gad cannot see this happening as such a move even with UN backing would be difficult to implement.
“ That proposal was made by the former High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union, Javier Solana and was supported by the US administration. But in reality considering American/Israeli and European relations, such a scenario would be unlikely to happen.”
Israel has said it is determined to make the Palestinians a good deal to get the direct talks going again and are hopeful of bridging the gap between its own security needs and Palestinian aspirations.