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Not only are they ignorant of themselves, they cannot avoid falling into a ditch or stumbling over a rock in the path (perhaps they are bleary-eyed from studying or just absent-minded); yet they claim to know about abstract ideas, universals, separate forms, primary matter, quiddities, and different modes of being – objects so phantasmal I doubt Lynceus himself could make them out.” -- Erasmus, In Praise of Folly (Folly, 56)

"The Peace Process" fell back into coma before coming out of it. No one except Obama and Kerry, of course, expected a different outcome – a miracle of sort.

But the miracle didn’t happen. The talks ended the way they were doomed to end – in a complete fiasco. It was an obvious outcome to anyone even slightly familiar with the Middle East realities. None of the sides was interested in the negotiations in the first place with each side waiting for the “other” to slip up and destroy the negotiations.

 

There are several reasons to Palestinian reluctance to reach an agreement, each reason is self-sufficient:

Resentment of Israelis is a result of sad empirical experience. In the early 1990s, most of the Israeli public supported the peace agreements and concessions, but their optimism soon faded away. Twice (Ehud Barak at Camp David in 2000 and Ehud Olmert in Annapolis in 2008) Israel has offered the Palestinians (Arafat and Abbas respectively) maximum concessions: 95-98% of the West Bank (with the option of exchange for other territories) and East Jerusalem (within frame works of Clinton’s plan), plus 20 billion dollars for settlement of Palestinian refugees in West Bank and Gaza. Olmert was even ready to consider the return of approximately 100,000 Palestinian refugees to Israel and allowing "safe passage" between Gaza and the Judea. He even offered to transfer the control of the Temple Mount to a joint consortium of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the U.S., Israel and the PLO. Abbas refused.

Waves of deadly terror in the mid 1990s and especially during "second intifada" of 2002 took life of thousands of Israelis, which has become the toughest collective trauma for the Israelis. In addition, since the unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, people of southern Israel, for the last 10 years, have lived in a state of constant fear of rocket attacks by Islamic Jihad, HAMAS and other Jihadi groups in Palestine.

In a situation where every attempt to achieve peace turned into bloody outcome, the majority of Israelis have lost interested in the process. Attention of the Israeli society has shifted to domestic issues instead—to economy and social justice.

Had Kerry bothered even a little to acquaint himself about the Israel-Palestinian reality, he wouldn’t have had to bang his head against the wall. The Obama-Kerry team may have dreamt of winning the Nobel Peace Prize by shoving a doomed-to-fail resolution down the throats of the Palestinians and Israelis, it could have been much more realistic to deal with problems of hunger and diseases in Africa, the fight against drug cartels, or the achievement of peace in Colombia in America's backyard. It can be handy for the Obama administration to bear in mind Einstein’s words: "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results".

But then, human folly is boundless.