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Why some are optimistic about Israeli-Palestinian peace talks

The widespread turmoil in the Middle East and the desire of leaders on both sides to leave their mark on history could tip the scales in favor of reaching an Israeli-Palestinian agreement.

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Secretary of State John Kerry stands with former US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk at the State Department in Washington, Monday, July 29, as he announces that he Indyk will shepherd the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Charles Dharapak/AP

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Secretary of State John Kerry has set the stage for the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks he will relaunch with a dinner at his Washington home Monday by noting that success will require “reasonable compromises on tough, complicated, emotional, and symbolic issues.”

The prospects for compromise by Israeli and Palestinian leaders on issues ranging from borders and security (those are the easier ones) to Jerusalem and the fate of Palestinian refugees have many officials and regional experts giving the renewed talks very long odds of success.

But at the same time, widespread turmoil in the Middle East and the desire of both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to leave their mark on history could confound the skeptics and tip the scales in favor of reaching a peace agreement, others say.

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