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FROM THIS EPISODE

President Obama's hope that direct talks would bring Middle East peace in a year seems less likely than ever.  The US failed to persuade Israel to freeze settlements in East Jerusalem, and no talks are occurring at all.  We ask what might happen next. Also, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange makes bail. On Reporter's Notebook, President Obama's special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan died suddenly of a ruptured aorta. We talk about Richard Holbrooke with his friend, the New Yorker writer George Packer.

Banner image: Palestinian laborers work on a new housing project at the Israeli settlement of Har Homa on the outskirts of mostly Arab east Jerusalem, on December 02, 2010. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

Producers:
Andrea Brody
Gary Scott
Sonya Geis

Main Topic Do the Middle East Peace Talks Have a Future? 35 MIN, 31 SEC

Just three months after President Obama took credit for renewing direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians, they're not talking at all. Palestinians demanded a freeze on Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, but even America's offer of billions in fighter jets could not get Israel to agree. Hillary Clinton says it's time to talk about "core issues," and George Mitchell is back in the region, but US policy is not entirely clear. Was pushing for the settlement freeze a blunder?  Has Israeli intransigence further isolated it from the rest of the world?

Guests:
Mark Landler, New York Times (@MarkLandler)
Daniel Kurtzer, Princeton University
Daoud Kuttab, Al Monitor (@daoudkuttab)
Efraim Inbar, Director, Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies
Peter Beinart, New America Foundation (@PeterBeinart)

The Icarus Syndrome

Peter Beinart

Reporter's Notebook Remembering Richard Holbrooke 7 MIN, 34 SEC

Results of the ongoing White House review of strategy in Afghanistan will be announced Thursday, but today's meeting took place without an important advisor. Richard Holbrooke, special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, died yesterday of complications from a ruptured aorta. Holbrooke wanted to be a journalist, but spent most of his life as a diplomat, serving every Democratic President since John F. Kennedy. "Without him, there's less zest in the world," says his friend, George Packer of the New Yorker.

Guests:
George Packer, New Yorker (@newyorker)

Making News WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Makes Bail 7 MIN, 33 SEC

A judge in London has approved the release of Julian Assange on several conditions, including bail set at $310,000. The founder of WikiLeaks is fighting extradition to Sweden for alleged sexual crimes, and might face charges in the US. Afua Hirsch is legal affairs correspondent for the Guardian.

Guests:
Afua Hirsch, The Guardian (@afuahirsch)

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