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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