Speaking at a joint press conference, Tzipi Livni, right,
said security for Israel had to come first [Reuters]
Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, is in the Middle East to prepare the ground for a planned peace conference in the US later this month. Rice is on her eighth visit to the region this year, hoping to inject life into the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. But expectations of her visit and the Maryland conference are low.

At a joint press conference Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister, said that security for Israel had to come first before any deal could be reached. Knowing very well that Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, does not have full control over the Palestinian territories, with Hamas controlling the Gaza Strip, it may not be possible for Abbas to make any commitments on halting rocket attacks from Gaza. We ask who can give security guarantees to Israel?

Rice spoke broadly about a Palestinian state without talking about the so-called 'core issues', or mentioning the 1967 borders. Yet she said that the US will not do anything that may compromise their strategic position in the region. These statements raise questions about the role of the US as an honest broker in the peace process. We ask is the US an impartial mediator or has it become a party to the conflict?

Joining us to discuss this are: Aaron Miller, a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Institute and a former senior adviser on Arab-Israeli negotiations, Qais Abdul Karim, a PLC member for the Palestine Liberation Front, and Ron Pundak, the director-general of the Peres Center for Peace.

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This episode of Inside Story airs on Monday November 05, 2007

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