From The Washington Post, Friday, September 10, 2010, by Charles Krauthammer:
The prospects are dim but the process is right.
...we're leaving behind interim agreements, of which the most lamentable were the Oslo accords of 1993.
The logic then was that issues so complicated could only be addressed step by step ...Israel made concrete concessions -- bringing in Yasser Arafat to run the West Bank and Gaza -- in return for which Israel received growing threats, continuous incitement and finally a full-scale terror war that killed more than a thousand innocent Israelis.
Among the victims was the Israeli peace movement and its illusions about Palestinian acceptance of Israel. The Israeli left, mugged by reality, is now moribund.
...[NOW] No interim deals, no partial agreements. ... if Israel gives up its dream of a united Jerusalem, for example, the Palestinians in return give up their dream of the right of return.
...What's under discussion is a final settlement of the conflict. Meaning, no further claims. Conflict over.
What's standing in the way? Israeli settlements? Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, one of Israel's most nationalist politicians, lives in a settlement and has said openly that to achieve peace he and his family would abandon their home. What about the religious settlers? Might they not resist? Some tried that during the Gaza withdrawal, clinging to synagogue rooftops. What happened? Jewish soldiers pulled them down and took them away. If Israel is offered real peace, the soldiers will do that again.
The obstacle today, as always, is Palestinian refusal to accept a Jewish state. That has been the core issue of the conflict from 1947 [actually from 1921 - SL] ....
...Unfortunately, there's no more sign today of a Palestinian desire for final peace than there was at Camp David. Even if Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wants such an agreement (doubtful but possible), he simply doesn't have the authority.
To accept a Jewish state, Abbas needs some kind of national consensus behind him. He doesn't even have a partial consensus. Hamas, which exists to destroy Israel, controls part of Palestine (Gaza) and is a powerful rival to Abbas's Fatah even in his home territory of the West Bank.
Indeed, this week Abbas flatly told al-Quds, the leading Palestinian newspaper, "We won't recognize Israel as a Jewish state." Nice way to get things off on the right foot...