Kerry announces Resumption of Peace Talks -- Who Blinked?

After six shuttle-diplomacy trips to the Middle East, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that Israeli and Palestinian leaders have agreed on a basis for resumption of peace negotiations which have been dormant for more than three years. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are due in Washington next week to resume talks. At this writing (Friday afternoon), that's as much news as is available from initial dispatches. The question now is what concessions Kerry extracted from both sides to get this far. While awaiting some answers, it may be instructive to parse pressures exerted on the parties by Kerry and to what extent each side abandoned its basic positions. There's no question but that Kerry -- with full backing from President Obama -- leaned heavily on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for major concessions. In hopes of winning over Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the secretary urged Netanyahu to embrace an Arab League peace plan, which is predicated on complete...(Read Full Post)