Five Ways to Tell If Mideast Peace Talks Are Serious

Aug 13, 2013

Here we go again. This week, Israeli-Palestinian negotiations will begin in Israel and the West Bank.

Having participated in my own fair share of these kinds of negotiations over the years, I wouldn't presume to discount Secretary of State John Kerry's effort. But I also wouldn't get my hopes up.

In 2001, Secretary of State Colin Powell assigned me to assist Gen. Anthony Zinni, who had just been given a mission impossible: Negotiate a cease-fire between Yasser Arafat and Ariel Sharon in the middle of the second intifada.

I asked Zinni straight out why he wanted to risk ruining a brilliant career on a goal he couldn't possibly achieve. He replied that he loved hopeless causes. In that case, I told him, he'd come to the right place.

Will these be the "Star Trek" negotiations and go where no man or woman has ever gone before? It's hard to say. 

Read this article in its entirety on CNN.com.

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