Just as secret back channels laid the groundwork for historic Israel-Arab advances in 1977 and 1993, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are liable to rely on behind-the-scenes talks far removed from the public, they say.After all, look at the outstanding successes in diplomatic excellence that have been achieved in the past using this method:
Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's surprise visit to Jerusalem 30 years ago was preceded by covert talks in Morocco. In 1993, talks between Israel and Palestinians were stalemated in Washington while two Israeli political scientists and envoys of Yasser Arafat met under the guise of an academic conference at an estate in the Norwegian city of Sarpsborg. The talks eventually gave birth to the Oslo Accord – a Declaration of Principles signed in Washington.And we all know how relations between Egypt and Israel have blossomed since then. Then there is the Oslo Accord--Israeli concessions under the guise of a peace agreement. Good job!
Secret meetings might be more credible if the leaders themselves were more credible.
While the informal atmosphere of a back channel is supposed to produce the key compromise, some caution that it's a recipe for miscommunications. Dore Gold, an ex-Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, says informal talks are flawed since leaders can deny their credibility and informal envoys can go overboard.All these secret meetings do is give us more reason to worry.
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