Associated Press reporter Matt Lee asked Harf if the gaps are now known, then what’s going on with the issues, such as the so-called “right of return” for several million Arabs living in foreign countries and whose only connection with Israel is that their great-grandparents lived there 60-some years ago.
“The Israelis say no way, no right of return; the Palestinians say we have to have it,” Lee noted. “There’s the gap right there. And you learned more?”
Harf answered, “I think more information on gaps is progress, yes.”
That is why those thousands of loyal peace process workers are pushing pencils and buttons on telephones at the State Dept. They keep getting more useless information, as high as the ceiling, to keep themselves busy.
The objective, of course, is to create the illusion that the peace process is alive.
“Those discussions are going on right now, what it might look like if the parties come back to the table,” Harf explained.
Enter Frank Lowenstein.
He is “acting” special deputy, which represents an improvement in the State Dept.’s understanding of reality. The Peace Process Stage Show has been full of bad actors for years, but this is the first time anyone officially has been given that role.
Logic would dictate that since there no longer is a “permanent” special envoy, the peace process is dead, but logic is not a priority in Washington.
“We’re still deeply engaged with both of the parties to see if they can get back to the table,” said Harf. “This is a pause. It is a tough time…..While the direct negotiations have taken a pause, our efforts behind the scenes to work with both parties to get them back to the table are ongoing. It’s challenging, certainly, but we’re still in discussions and we’re still in negotiations talking to them about how they could do that.”
Lowenstein apparently is in charge of negotiations about returning to negotiations, at which point he could become “permanent” special deputy, until he resigns, quits, or simply disappears, like Indyk and all of his predecessors.