The New York Times devoted a few thousand words on Tuesday to telling us what we already know: the peace process is dead and Prime Minister Netanyahu killed it.

Of course, it hems and haws, apportioning blame to both sides but, it is clear that the Times knows that the sole reason there was no chance that Kerry’s fool’s errand would succeed is because the Israeli right has no intention of giving up the West Bank.

The good news is that this time the Palestinians did not play along with Israel’s (and America’s) game. That game required the Palestinians to sign on to some agreement that Israel would not abide by anyway. Then, following the deal’s collapse, the United States would join Israel in blaming the Palestinians for killing the deal. (An Israeli once told me that Palestinians are exasperatingly slow in signing on to agreements because they know that they must abide by them. Israelis, he said, are quick to sign because they know that they don’t have to adhere to the terms anyway.)

The Palestinian Authority is right to turn away from negotiating with Kerry and start negotiating to achieve unity with Hamas.

My hope is that Fatah and Hamas succeed which is the thing Netanyahu fears above all else. He fears unity not because he believe that Hamas is dedicated to the eradication of Israel but because it might not be.

He worries that Hamas might agree to pursuing a deal that would recognize Israel’s right to security within the ’67 borders. He fears Hamas evolving the way Fatah did, abandoning violence, recognizing Israel and thereby putting fearful pressure on Israel to actually negotiate with a unified Palestinian team toward the two-state solution. After all, no deal that does not include Gaza (Hamas) can ever stick.

I don’t expect that unity will be achieved but it might.

For now, the Americans, the Israeli government, the anti-Israel BDS diehards, the Israel Firsters and the lobby must watch from the sidelines.

For once, the Palestinians are in the driver’s seat. A unified Palestine that tells Israel and the world that it will accept the existence of a secure fully sovereign Israel within the ’67 borders alongside a secure fully sovereign Palestine in the West Bank, Gaza, and east Jerusalem can take this seemingly hopeless conflict and end it.

That is what the Likud party, the settlers, the anti-Israel fanatics and all the other haters are afraid of. It is the conflict that sustains them.


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