Time for Israeli-PLO Talks
Opening direct talks with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) at this juncture in the Arab-Israeli peace negotiations could benefit Israel's short- and long-term interests and provide the peace process with renewed momentum. The United States should encourage such a move and in return bring pressure to bear on the PLO to demonstrate more flexibility. Excluding the PLO formally from past direct talks may have given Israel some room for political maneuverability and some gains in establishing the peace negotiating parameters. The growing strength of the Palestinian Islamic fundamentalists (Hamas), however, the perplexing direction that Israeli-Palestinian bilateral negotiations have taken, and the changing of administrations in Washington all raise a question as to whether Israel's interests and the prospects for peace are not better served through direct negotiations with the PLO.