I mean, calling the land grab of Israeli settlements an "irritant" that should not be a precondition for resuming talks? WTF?
"If the expectation is that we can only have direct negotiations when everything is settled ahead of time, then there is no point for negotiations, so I think it is important to work through this process even if there are irritants on both sides," Obama told reporters at a joint news conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.The Palestinians have, in the past under Yasir Arafat, shot themselves in the foot, tis true. And under Mahmoud Abbas during Obama's first term:
During his first four years in office, Obama had sided with the Palestinians on the issue. He and his surrogates repeatedly demanded that all settlement activity cease. However, when Israel reluctantly declared a 10-month moratorium on construction, the Palestinians balked at returning to the table until shortly before it expired and talks foundered shortly thereafter.But, a land grab is more than an irritant.
That said, I think the Gaza Strip should be eliminated and Palestinians given additional territory on the south of today's current "West Bank" to form a single contiguous state.
As other geographically divided countries, like East/West Pakistan and post-World War I Germany have shown, these geographically split nations have a tendency not to work out in the long run. In Germany's case, it led to a push for war. In the two Pakistans, it was a tragic mix of civil war plus war with India.
So, alternative B is, since Gaza and the West Bank are almost two separate countries anyway, make this legally real. Palestine = West Bank and Hamasland = Gaza.
Of course, that's got about zero chance of happening. Not just Abbas and the Palestinian Authority, but Israel, and Egypt, and Jordan and much of the rest of the Arab World would all oppose a Hamas state.
Meanwhile, speaking of bare knuckles with the fiscal purse? We're in the fricking sequester, right? So, why not cut off, or at least seriously cut back, foreign aid to Israel?