ND Expert: Israelis “bound to sink talks with Palestinians”

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Michael Desch

With Israel’s construction moratorium on Jewish settlements in the West Bank due to end this weekend, Palestinian and Israeli negotiators are seeking a way to keep the peace talks going.

But according to University of Notre Dame political scientist Michael Desch, these negotiations were over almost before they began.

“The Netanyahu government is bound and determined to sink the talks with the Palestinians,” says Desch, who specializes in international relations and national security.

“They are resisting extending the building freeze in the settlements – an important signal of their willingness to actually withdraw from them – and now they are again floating the idea of the U.S. releasing convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, which Netanyahu tried to do in the late 1990s.”

In order for peace talks to continue, Palestinian leadership requires the building freeze to extend, but even efforts by the Obama administration urging Netanyahu to extend the moratorium have failed.

“The prospects for these talks were never good to begin with, but they are fast becoming unsalvageable,” Desch says.

Media advisory: Professor Desch’s comments may be used in whole or in part; he is available for interviews and can be reached at 574-631-2792 or mdesch@nd.edu.