While the world's attention is fixed on the deepening drama of Iran's nuclear programme and the continuing fall-out from the wave of anti-government protests in the Arab world (I still refuse to countenance the concept of an Arab Spring), it is hardly surprising that attempts to revive the Palestinian-Israeli peace dialogue are generating many headlines.Read the rest here.
And yet this crucial issue is quietly reaching its own crisis point as the two sides approach the January 26 deadline set by the Quartet – the US, EU, UN and Russia – for the resumption of direct negotiations, with the aim of reaching a final settlement by the end of the year.
For anyone acquainted with the poisonous politics of the Middle East, resolving the long-standing dispute between Israel and the Palestinians would go a long way in undermining the cause of the Islamist militants who are trying to hijack the current wave of anti-government protests in the region for their own ends. The whole raison d'etre of regimes like Iran is that they claim they are fighting on behalf of the Palestinians to liberate their land from Israel's occupation. But if Israel suddenly did a deal, and made peace Palestinians, the Islamists would suddenly find themselves left high and dry.