It's official: After a 20-month hiatus, Israeli and Palestinian leaders will resume direct peace talks. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced today that talks will begin Sept. 2 in Washington, with the goal of reaching a settlement within one year, the AP reports. "There have been difficulties in the past; there will be difficulties ahead. Without a doubt, we will hit more obstacles," she said. "The enemies of peace will keep trying to defeat us and to derail these talks. But I ask the parties to persevere."
In addition to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, the leaders of Egypt and Jordan have also been invited. The talks will be a major victory for Obama and Hillary Clinton, who've made Mideast peace efforts a cornerstone of their foreign policy plans, reports the Wall Street Journal. But, the Journal notes, peace is a long way off; Netanyahu may be unwilling to make major concessions and Palestinians have often expressed that they feel they've been dragged to the table.