It looks as if the attempt to get the peace talks restarted will continue to be unsuccessful. I am not surprised.
... Abbas doesn’t have the legitimacy. With half of Palestine (namely Gaza) controlled by his rejectionist mortal enemy Hamas, he doesn’t have the authority. And he doesn’t have the intention. Abbas openly refuses to (a) recognize Israel as a Jewish state, (b) yield the so-called right of return (which would flood Israel with millions of Palestinians, destroying the state demographically), or (c) ever sign any agreement that ends the conflict once and for all. Any one of these refusals makes a final peace impossible. All three make the entire process ridiculous.
So here are some thoughts (edited) that I wrote to a friend last week about Israel and the Middle East:
As I may have written at one time, historical and biblical claims to the land mean nothing to me; it seems to me lots of people live on land that was taken from someone else at some point in time.
The Ottomans lost; the Brits got to decide what happened to the territories. The Brits buggered it up most places throughout the world but likely couldn't have done much different in Israel/Palestine.
Once Israel was created and acknowledged, and once it had successfully defended itself in the late 1940s, that is pretty much where I start from. It exists; it thrives; it champions freedom and human rights more than any of its neighbours. These points, not biblical history, are the main reasons I am an Israel-phile, I think.
The wars of 1967 and 1973 made it very clear that so long as Israel's arab neighbours were allowed to live next to the pre-1967 borders, Israelis would not be safe. Hence the need for a buffer zone ("need" being from the perspective of Israel, not from the arabs, of course). I saw this same thing, trivially, in my war against the geese last month. If I just drove them off the lawn, they came right back. I had to drive them out of the buffer zones as well.
Quite clearly, relinquishing control of Gaza and forcing Jews to leave the settlements there did nothing to further "the peace process", whatever that means. There has been a rain of thousands of rockets onto Israel from Gaza which has been menacing and murderous. It is intriguing that Egypt has many policies that isolate Gaza more than Israel does. And it is maddening that Palestinian refugees from the 1940s (most of whom left at the urging of the neighbouring gubmnts, not because they were forced out by the Jews) were not integrated into the neighbours' countries.
I know there are politically important groups in Israel who believe Israel should include the entire west bank. But their reasoning seems to me to be more historical and religious, not political in a real-politik sense. I don't buy it.
Friends who have visited the settlements on the west bank understand both the need for a buffer zone AND that the expansionism rampant in some settlements is troublesome. As a result, I am left confused. I recognize Israel's need for the buffer areas, the fences, and the checkpoints. At the same time it is not clear to me that there is much, if any, justification for further expansion of settlements into the West Bank areas.