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Israel will not grant Palestine minimum demands for peace, says American official

American expert of Middle Eastern issues at Wilson Research Centre, Aron Miller, has said that Israel is not ready to grant the minimum demands of Palestinians in any peace deal at the current time, Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds reported on Saturday.


Miller said: "None of the three parties [US, Israel and Palestine] are ready to pay the necessary price for a peace deal. Therefore, negotiations – which were resumed nine months ago – were predestined to fail."

He commented on the US secretary of state John Kerry's decision to halt his efforts regarding the peace talks, saying that this does not mean the US will give up brokering the peace process. "It is hard to imagine a renewal of negotiations before [US Congress] midterm elections slated in November," he said.

The expert also attributed the suspension of Kerry's efforts to Palestinian reconciliation. "Kerry is waiting to see the results of Palestinian reconciliation and its consequences on the ground regarding the government and elections."

At the end of last week, Kerry said that he has suspended his efforts to push Palestinian-Israeli peace talks forward. He said that the reason was to review the situation in order to decide what to do in the future.

Miller said that there are six basic issues which need to be resolved in order for any peace deal to be reached by the two sides. "Difficulties lie in the details to reach an agreement on these issues", he said, "and there are still huge gaps between both sides on each issue."

Meanwhile, former deputy assistant of the US secretary of state Tamara Wittes said: "Kerry invested his efforts and decided to wait until the consequences of Palestinian unity become clear, and how the upcoming Israeli government will be. He did not announce the death of talks."

Regarding whether Kerry's describing Israel as an apartheid state might affect the unbiased mediation of peace talks, Wittes said: "I do not think using this word will affect him too much. He was not the first and he will not the last to use it to describe certain Israeli policies in the Palestinian territories."

Miller refused to comment on what the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported on American sources blaming Israel for the failure of talks.

Yedioth Ahronoth reported a senior American official saying that 20 years of talks have resulted in the doubling of hardship for Palestinians living under occupation.

"There are many reasons behind the failure of talks and Israelis must not evade the bitter reality," he said. "The main reason behind the failure of talks is settlement building."

The Israeli newspaper reported the American official saying that this is the main reason Palestinians do not trust that Israel is willing to allow them to establish their state, while it continues to build settlements on the land allocated for that state.

Both Miller and Wittes think that US President Barack Obama had offered all the necessary support for Kerry's efforts.

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