US Semantics on ‘Peace Talks’

Is a cul-de-sac a dead end? Not when it comes to seemingly vanishing 'Middle East' peace process, a US State Dept. spokesman told reporters.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu , | updated: 16:17

US State Dept. in Washington
US State Dept. in Washington
Israel news photo: US State Dept.

The Middle East “peace process” is in a “cul-de-sac,” according to U.S. State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley. However, when peppered with a reporter’s notation that the word often is a synonym for “dead end,” Crowley said there is a "path” but that “forward motion is difficult.”

Crowley was responding to a general question as to what the United States expects from Saudi Arabia, whose foreign minister is in Washington, in terms of “gestures and restarting the peace process.” 


Photo: cul-de-sac “You can turn around in a cul-de-sac and you can turn around in a dead end, but a cul-de-sac –“ said a reporter before being cut off by Crowley, who responded amid laughter, ”You always catch me on my terminology.’ The reporter answered, "Well, you used the word. Are you acknowledging that this is a dead end now?” and pointed out, “It’s exactly the same thing.”

Crowley tried to explain, “I wouldn’t say it’s a dead – a cul-de-sac means there’s a path, I mean, we have reached a point where there currently is – forward motion is very difficult."

Webster’s Dictionary defines cul-de-sac as a "street or passage closed at one end, a blind alley and a street with only one way in or out."

The spokesman also said that the American policy of mediating between Israel and the Palestinian Authority to bring them together is “not a failure, because the process isn’t over…. But clearly, in the aftermath of the Goldstone report, we’ve seen this fairly substantial gap emerge… So…we’re kind of stuck for the moment.”

While retrying to show optimism that the Palestinian Authority will agree to resume talks with Israel, Crowley said the U.S. government will encourage both sides “if and when we get to a point where we think that the parties are prepared to consider negotiations.”