Israel, Abbas Face Realities on Peace – Aaron David Miller
Mahmoud Abbas is most likely the best partner for peace negotiations that Washington, this Israeli government or any other is likely to have. But under current circumstances, he cannot deliver his side of a comprehensive peace agreement with Israel. Abbas is trapped by traditional Palestinian negotiating positions and a narrative that is almost impossible to alter. To diverge significantly from them would end his political viability and perhaps his life.
The Palestinian national movement is still badly divided between Fatah and Hamas. Any reconciliation of the two will likely further harden Palestinian positions, creating more tension with Israel and the U.S. Yet, unless the Palestinians find a way to assume control over the forces of violence in Palestine – in short, one authority and one gun – it’s hard to see how Israel, even if it could be persuaded to withdraw from the West Bank on paper, would ever do so in practice. (CNN)