Peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are scheduled to resume this week in Washington. Secretary of State John Kerry is credited with breaking the lull since the last talks broke down over Israel`s refusal to halt settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank. Kerry, who traveled to the region six times since becoming secretary of state, has been deliberately opaque about the details of the resumed talks–leaving much open to question.
Although the Fatah-dominated government has insisted that it will only resume talks on the precondition that Israel halt its settlement activity, it is not clear that any such commitment has been made. In fact, days after the announcement of the talks, Israel made public its plans to build a railway system in the occupied West Bank connecting its illegal colonies to one another as well as to Israel. Additionally, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has declared his firm opposition to a Palestinian state, and faces a hawkish coalition government that will likely impede any plans aimed at dismantling Israel`s settler-colonial infrastructure in the occupied West Bank. The status of the Gaza Strip, including the comprehensive blockade—which is entering its sixth year—is unlikely to be discussed at all given Hamas`s exclusion from the talks. The same can be said for the final, and most critical issues: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, borders, and water.
While mainstream media in the United States as well as prominent Jews have applauded Kerry`s efforts, Ahmed Saadat, the imprisoned secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine has called for nationwide protests against the negotiations.
In this episode of Al Jazeera`s The Stream, Jadaliyya Co-Editor Noura Erakat joins Dimi Reider, Hussein Ibish, and Gil Hoffman to discuss the significance of the resumed talks. Noura explains that returning to the negotiating table benefits the United States and Israel, and will likely result in an economic plan that incrementally improves the lives of Palestinians without altering the power dynamics at all—thus extending the shelf life of the current Palestinian leadership. She emphasizes:
[W]e shouldn`t lose sight of that what is fundamentally at issue here isn`t that Palestinians can`t govern themselves in statelet or some sort of territorial entity. The fundamental issue here is that Palestinians as a population are subject to a settler-colonial regime which deems them inferior to their Jewish Israeli counterparts.