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July 26, 2013 10:43 am

TIME Magazine: Peace Talks May Fail Because of Israel

avatar by Zach Pontz

A Palestinian and Israeli boy hug. Photo: Debbi Cooper.

TIME Magazine’s Jerusalem bureau chief, Karl Vick, published a list of reasons why he believes the newest round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, announced last week, may fail, and Israel is at the top of the list.

Vick is no stranger to stirring up controversy with his coverage of Israel. A provocative cover story he penned in 2010, framed Israelis as being indifferent to the quest for peace, instead being more concerned with the value of real estate and “living the good life.”

In the first slot on his new list, titled “The Illusion of Progress: 9 Reasons Why Israeli-Palestinian Talks May Fail,” Vick writes that Benjamin Netanyahu’s vow Sunday to submit any final agreement to a public referendum “would likely sound the death knell for an agreement based – as any to emerge from [U.S. Secretary of State John] Kerry’s planned talks would have to be – upon the Oslo Accords, the 1994 framework for a Palestinian state…”

Furthermore, Vick claims that “polls consistently show most Israelis want a peace agreement but do not believe one will come, one reason surely being that most Israelis reject the specific concessions a deal almost certainly would entail. To take only one issue: Two out of three centrist Israelis in one recent poll refuse to divide Jerusalem, the city Palestinians insist must also serve as their capital.”

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As his second-most likely reason for failed talks, Vick writes that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s coalition would hijack any attempt at a peace deal, and he even dismisses government coalition partner Yesh Atid’s leader Yair Lapid’s public declarations in support of peace as being disingenuous.

“The former anchorman says he wants talks, but perhaps only for the sake of talks: Lapid is among the centrists who is not willing to share Jerusalem. ‘Jerusalem is not a place,’ he told the New York Times in May. ‘It’s an idea,'” Vick writes.

Anonymous pro-Israel blogger Elder of Ziyon commented on the Vick article on his blog, criticizing the TIME journalist for failing to take Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to task for the very same promise.

“Mahmoud Abbas said the exact same thing, that he would hold a referendum,” Elder of Ziyon wrote. “Vick doesn’t see this as a problem (if he is even aware of it.) There is no doubt that the Palestinian Arabs would overwhelmingly reject any deal that does not include the ‘right to return’ and destroy Israel demographically, or that would allow Israel to keep Jewish neighborhoods around Jerusalem, things that are non-starters for Israel.”

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