Israel-Palestine: The end of the affair

Despite Mahmoud Abbas's declared wish to continue peace talks, the fact that Hamas will be included in his administration makes the prospect of Israel agreeing virtually non-existent.

Mahmoud Abbas
Photo by: REUTERS
So this is how it was all fated to end – not with a bang, but with a whimper. No triumphant three-party gathering on the White House lawn, no media coverage of an historic handshake between Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, presided over by a beaming US President Barack Obama, as the infinitely long-running dispute between Israel and the Palestinians was finally resolved. Not even a media conference at which US Secretary of State John Kerry presented the world with a carefully constructed “framework agreement,” under which the Israelis and Palestinians agreed to continue talking beyond the original nine-month deadline.

Nothing like that. Instead, a sudden meeting in the Gaza Strip between Fatah and Hamas, the so-far irreconcilable wings of the Palestinian body politic – a meeting with no prior warning, which takes Washington by surprise – and the announcement of an “historic” reconciliation which is to result in a united Palestinian government within five weeks, and presidential and parliamentary elections within six months.

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