-- Egyptian despot/President/ Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's dictator/King Abdullah II, both reliably pro-Western, disdainful of Palestinians.
George Mitchell, US Special Middle East Peace Envoy said America's goal is "an agreement that will end the conflict for all time and will result in the establishment of a viable, democratic and independent state of Palestine living side by side in peace and security with Israel. We believe it can be done within a year and that is our objective," adding that subsequent sessions between the two sides will be held in the Middle East, the Washington opener a photo-op, kicking off the process. Asked what Hamas' role would be in the talks, he replied, "None."
Peace or Just Talk?
On August 20, New York Times writer Ethan Bronner suggested the latter, headlining,"In Mideast Talks, Scant Hopes From the Beginning," saying:
Though accepted by both sides, "just below the surface there was an almost audible shrug. There is little confidence - close to none - on either side that the Obama administration's goal of reaching a comprehensive deal in one year can be met," given the futility of trying for the past 35 years, an impossible task for one side with no credible partner.
As a result, "a resigned fatalism (pervades) the air," pitting an intransigent Netanyahu against a feckless Abbas, Al Quds University vice president Zakaria al-Qaq saying, "These direct negotiations are the option of the crippled and the helpless."
Israeli political writer, Nahum Barnea, is also skeptical, stating, "Most Israelis have decided that nothing is going to come out of it, that it will have no bearing on their lives. So why should they care?"
Former Israeli Labor Party and Meretz-Yachad politician, Yossi Beilin, believes "There is not a chance in the world that in a year - or two or three - peace can be achieved. The gap between the sides is too big. Netanyahu did not come to power to divide Jerusalem or find a solution (for) the Palestinian refugees."