Searching for peace in Palestine

Eric Niiler Feb 2, 2007


MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Middle East peace negotiators meet today in Washington to search for a solution to the Palestinian crisis. Russian officials want to lift an economic blockade on the Palestinian territories. That idea may not get very far. Eric Niiler has more.

ERIC NIILER: Russian officials say the Palestinian government needs outside help to feed the four million people living within the occupied territories.

The freeze was imposed last year when Hamas came to power but refused to renounce terrorism or recognize Israel.

USC professor Laurie Brand says the Russian plan won’t fly.

LAURIE BRAND: There really isn’t a lot that the Russians can do to push for a solution. As everybody knows, it’s really the United States that is the key in all of this. And the Europeans, but to a much, much lesser degree.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice goes back to the Middle East later this month. She’s pushing Israel president Ehud Olmert to meet directly with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Brand says a solution may not be reached until all parties — including Hamas — are at the table.

In Washington, I’m Eric Niiler for Marketplace.

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