The Palestinian-Israeli peace talks are still in limbo, as the Israelis refuse to renew a freeze on new theft of and building on Palestinian land, while the Palestinians sensibly continue to refuse direct talks as long as the Israelis will not renew their settlement freeze. (What is the point of negotiating over territory if large swathes of it are being taken off the table by the other side even while you are talking to them?)
It may be the fault of America’s silly-season election circus to some extent. Many Palestinian officials are convinced that President Obama is waiting until after the US midterm elections to make any further commitment to the peace process.
Whereas in other kinds of news, a lack of progress in peace talks might not be big news, the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is sort of like the Titanic heading for the iceberg, and lack of progress in setting the course straight spells looming catastrophe, not mere idling. It is unclear that the long-suffering Palestinians, many of them expelled from their homes in 1948 and left penniless, stateless refugees, are going forever to meekly put up with further land grabs, harassment and displacement as militant Zionist squatters flood illegally into the last bits of the territory assigned Palestinians by the United Nations in 1947. While most Palestinians have been remarkably forebearing about being the worst-treated nation in the world, that another round of violence could ensue upon the hopelessness signalled by a collapse of the Obama peace effort cannot be ruled out.
The impasse has impelled Palestinians to begin thinking about abrogating the Oslo Accords, in which Palestinians recognized Israel in return for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, which never took place. In fact, since Israel signed the Oslo accords, it has flooded hundreds of thousands of Israeli illegal aliens into the territory it pledged to the Palestine Authority. From the Palestinian point of view, they were snookered. They got bupkes (indeed had much of their territory substracted from them, and Israel got recognition.
Israel’s hard liners are losing ever more international standing. Catholic bishops from the Middle East have just called for an Israeli withdrawal from the Occupied Territories.
Meanwhile, the Israelis continue to strangle Gaza with an inhumane and illegal blockade. The United Nations has just revealed that Israel has actively disrupted projects of school building in the Palestinian camps and slums.
Recently declassified documents demonstrate that the siege of Gaza is for political, not military purposes. It is illegal in international law to punish collectively an entire occupied population.