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Kerry's Israeli/Palestinian peace talks


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If you all have been following news recently, you will have noticed that the US has been trying to resume talks on a two-state solution. That means that at the same time, a lot of stuff is happening and a lot of stuff will likely not be happening at all.

 

Israel has offered to release a bunch of prisoners, while at the same time increasing government subsidies to several illegal settlements (likely as a quid-pro-quo aimed at the extreme-right parties in government). Technically Israel promised to release these prisoners already in the Oslo accords, so however pointless the release of less than a hundred prisoners might seem to the process, it was basically a prerequisite for talks so that the Palestinian leaders can still uphold the self-deception that they have any real power at all.

 

I'm sure the Palestinian leaders in Fatah would be keen to reach an agreement themselves, but the people in both Gaza and the West Bank have become wary and sceptical of any "peace process", and Fatah has become increasingly unpopular. It's almost certain the current West Bank leadership would be voted out of office if elections were held. The longer these discussions take place, the more support Fatah will lose among the people.

 

Thus commences a kind of chicken race in front of the international community where neither part wants to reach an agreement, but both sides want the other to derail the negotiations in order to look good themselves. It's unthinkable that the US would ever touch the fat aid packages to Israel or in general use the "stick" instead of the "carrot" and the status quo is currently ideal for the Israeli right-wing government, so in contrast to the Palestinians the Israelis could reasonably let the negotiations go on indefinitely.

 

So my bet is that discussions will drag on for a long time, and will end with the Palestinian leadership either voluntarily resigning or being forced down by protests (if Kerry does not give up first!). In the eventual, unlikely case of an agreement, it will have two prime characteristics: 1. Concrete changes are scheduled to take place in years from now and 2. The Palestinians make a very firm commitment not to involve the international community in any way.

 

What do you think will happen? Let's place our bets and see who is the most professional political prognosticator on the Obsidian forum.

Edited by Rostere
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"Well, overkill is my middle name. And my last name. And all of my other names as well!"

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Nothing will change.

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Nothing will change.

 

That's basically what I said as well, but if you would like any creds™ for your prediction maybe you should be more specific in how these talks will fail to accomplish anything?

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Nothing will change.

 

That's basically what I said as well, but if you would like any creds™ for your prediction maybe you should be more specific in how these talks will fail to accomplish anything?

 

Same way as ever, unreasonable demands met with firm opposition and an unwillingness to compromise.

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I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

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Considering this is the first time in 3 years that the USA has got Israel and the Palestinians to sit face to face I'm cautiously optimistic. Also Kerry has instructed both parties to not speak to the press to ensure things don't get said out of line

 

I watched interviews with representatives from both sides and as usual some concessions and compromises need to be made that will lay the foundation for a lasting peace. So the real question is " are both sides prepared to make certain sacrifices for peace"

 

I firmly believe a 2 state solution is the only solution. Israel will have to give up land that some settlements are built on and give some parts of Jerusalem over to the Palestinians and the Palestinians need to accept that Israel has a right to exist and agree to abandon the armed conflict

 

Lets see what happens, I come from a country that avoided a civil war due to political will. It can be done if people have the desire and are prepared to compromise

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"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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Kerry has created a very dangerous situation when the talks almost inevitably will collapse.

 

How is the situation dangerous as opposed to all other talks that have been attempted? Would you prefer the Obama administration did nothing?

Edited by BruceVC
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"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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I firmly believe a 2 state solution is the only solution. Israel will have to give up land that some settlements are built on and give some parts of Jerusalem over to the Palestinians and the Palestinians need to accept that Israel has a right to exist and agree to abandon the armed conflict

 

Lets see what happens, I come from a country that avoided a civil war due to political will. It can be done if people have the desire and are prepared to compromise

 

You see, I think the two-state solution is the precise reason the talks are doomed to fail.

 

Imagine South Africa in the mid-80s, except most of the black SA inhabitants don't live intermingled with the white ones. They live walled-up and are forbidden to build anything without a permit, which essentially means the SA army will come and bulldozer 90% of what they build down. They can in general not leave these ghettos, except if they emigrate to a "black" country. The SA government only allows the most basic of products through, so technology and medicine are mostly smuggled. Every now and then the walls close in on the black SA populace as more space is allocated to white settlements, who of course claim the country was granted them directly from God. Criticism is often deflected with "we're the only democracy in the region" - ignoring the black South Africans in the ghettos who only get to vote for their own police. Also, you get to hear a lot of "blacks have it better here than in the neighbouring countries" - referring to the few who live beside the white South Africans.

 

In many ways, the scenario in Israel/Palestine is even more entangled than Apartheid SA. The difference between SA and Israel/Palestine is that SA resolved - in one of the most significant victories of democracy in the 20th century (if not ever) - to live side by side in a single democracy, with equal rights. Increasingly, I'm getting the feeling that this is what needs to happen in Israel/Palestine as well. The future lies with unity, not with division. I'm completely convinced that if the Israelis and Palestinians would completely put aside their differences and join in a single state (which seems lightyears away today, unfortunately) the economy and international prestige of their country would be shooting through the roof.

 

So compare the two-state solution to if Bush would have tried to convince ANC and De Klerk to a peaceful solution by evacuating black South Africans to certain reservations, primarily characterized by being what land was left when the whites had settled where they wanted. (Or to be really clear to those of you who are not BruceVC or with some knowledge of SA history, this is what the two-state solution would have looked like in SA)

 

Bantustans and two-state solutions is not the way forward for democracy. When I see Israel and Palestine, I see one nation with one future.

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A future of civil war, I guess. :p

Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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I admire your optimism, Rosti. But perhaps not your perspicacity. One nation? You'd need a single incredibly charismatic and well connected individual to pull that off, galvanised in the public awareness on both sides by some bloody awful event.

 

And then the hard liners on one side or another would shoot him.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

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tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Kerry has created a very dangerous situation when the talks almost inevitably will collapse.

 

How is the situation dangerous as opposed to all other talks that have been attempted? Would you prefer the Obama administration did nothing?

 

 

But we have to complain about every action the current administration takes!  That's how politics work!   :facepalm:

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Imagine South Africa in the mid-80s, except most of the black SA inhabitants don't live intermingled with the white ones.

But that's a very big difference.

Few hundreds years of colonization are ways apart from ethnic cleansing.

I don't see a future one state working without one side subjugating the other.

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I firmly believe a 2 state solution is the only solution. Israel will have to give up land that some settlements are built on and give some parts of Jerusalem over to the Palestinians and the Palestinians need to accept that Israel has a right to exist and agree to abandon the armed conflict

 

Lets see what happens, I come from a country that avoided a civil war due to political will. It can be done if people have the desire and are prepared to compromise

 

You see, I think the two-state solution is the precise reason the talks are doomed to fail.

 

Imagine South Africa in the mid-80s, except most of the black SA inhabitants don't live intermingled with the white ones. They live walled-up and are forbidden to build anything without a permit, which essentially means the SA army will come and bulldozer 90% of what they build down. They can in general not leave these ghettos, except if they emigrate to a "black" country. The SA government only allows the most basic of products through, so technology and medicine are mostly smuggled. Every now and then the walls close in on the black SA populace as more space is allocated to white settlements, who of course claim the country was granted them directly from God. Criticism is often deflected with "we're the only democracy in the region" - ignoring the black South Africans in the ghettos who only get to vote for their own police. Also, you get to hear a lot of "blacks have it better here than in the neighbouring countries" - referring to the few who live beside the white South Africans.

 

In many ways, the scenario in Israel/Palestine is even more entangled than Apartheid SA. The difference between SA and Israel/Palestine is that SA resolved - in one of the most significant victories of democracy in the 20th century (if not ever) - to live side by side in a single democracy, with equal rights. Increasingly, I'm getting the feeling that this is what needs to happen in Israel/Palestine as well. The future lies with unity, not with division. I'm completely convinced that if the Israelis and Palestinians would completely put aside their differences and join in a single state (which seems lightyears away today, unfortunately) the economy and international prestige of their country would be shooting through the roof.

 

So compare the two-state solution to if Bush would have tried to convince ANC and De Klerk to a peaceful solution by evacuating black South Africans to certain reservations, primarily characterized by being what land was left when the whites had settled where they wanted. (Or to be really clear to those of you who are not BruceVC or with some knowledge of SA history, this is what the two-state solution would have looked like in SA)

 

Bantustans and two-state solutions is not the way forward for democracy. When I see Israel and Palestine, I see one nation with one future.

 

 

You make some sobering and relevant points

 

And your analogy to South Africa highlights just how unreasonable a 2 state appears. In almost other circumstances I would agree with you but as you mentioned the reality of Israel and Palestine is that the conflict is ultimately not around politics, race or even ideologies. Its about religion and that people feel they have a divine right to land that supersedes logic and compromise. This makes people even more intransigent. So unless you feel the Israeli's and the Palestinians will become less religious, which I doubt, we will never see the compromise we want that will enable them to all live side by side in harmony

 

So even though its not what I would say is the best solution a 2 state initiative where both sides get access to parts of the holy land just seems the only solution that will allow a semblance of permanent peace?

 

But I'm glad I don't have to be the interlocutor trying to resolve this mess :sweat:  :sweat:

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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there's no way a single unitary stae could exist peacefully. A federal state consisting of a jewish state and a palestinian state, with Jerusalem as the federal captital could potentially work in the long run, but would take a lot of work on both ssides, and a good constitution to keep the inevitable arab majority from eventually subjugating the jews.

The area between the balls and the butt is a hotbed of terrorist activity.

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I admire your optimism, Rosti. But perhaps not your perspicacity. One nation? You'd need a single incredibly charismatic and well connected individual to pull that off, galvanised in the public awareness on both sides by some bloody awful event.

 

And then the hard liners on one side or another would shoot him.

 

Yes, we would definitely need a "messiah" in the current situation. Short-term things look worse than ever, although long-term I'm getting some hope. Maybe we should also accept that we can't solve any tough problem instantaneously. If the people in the region take ever so small steps in the right direction, maybe a "union" solution will appear possible in another 10 years?

 

 

Imagine South Africa in the mid-80s, except most of the black SA inhabitants don't live intermingled with the white ones.

But that's a very big difference.

Few hundreds years of colonization are ways apart from ethnic cleansing.

I don't see a future one state working without one side subjugating the other.

 

You could also make the argument that hundred years of colonization is worse that recent ethnic cleansing. I'm sure there has occured something similar to that at some point in SA history as well. Only about 100 years ago, Jews, Christians and Muslims lived side by side in Jerusalem. Is it that naïve to believe they can do so again? Neither Judaism, Christianity or Islam has changed since then. Eventually old grievances are forgotten, it's a pity people can't forget them quicker and get on with what should be their economic priorities.

 

The current situation is a nightmare. That is because this far, people have chosen to emphasize conflict and division over reconciliation. Even in the so-called peace talks they are essentially just drawing trenchlines-to-be, when they should work towards destroying the borders and breaking the walls.

 

It's not surprising that the stronger side (Israel) squeezes the other side relentlessly under it's thumb. And as long as Palestinians elect leaders such as the corrupt Fatah or the quixotic and chaotic stupid Hamas, they are just prolonging the conflict.

 

You make some sobering and relevant points

 

And your analogy to South Africa highlights just how unreasonable a 2 state appears. In almost other circumstances I would agree with you but as you mentioned the reality of Israel and Palestine is that the conflict is ultimately not around politics, race or even ideologies. Its about religion and that people feel they have a divine right to land that supersedes logic and compromise. This makes people even more intransigent. So unless you feel the Israeli's and the Palestinians will become less religious, which I doubt, we will never see the compromise we want that will enable them to all live side by side in harmony

 

So even though its not what I would say is the best solution a 2 state initiative where both sides get access to parts of the holy land just seems the only solution that will allow a semblance of permanent peace?

 

But I'm glad I don't have to be the interlocutor trying to resolve this mess :sweat:  :sweat:

 

I'm glad I'm not in charge of this either. Other than the fact that I would surely not manage to accomplish anything, I would probably be shot by one side or the other as well.

 

A single state would seem impossible to accomplish today, but imagine the rewards - Israel/Palestine would quickly become the number one tourist destination in the world if only Muslims, Christians and Jews alike could all move freely, visit historical and religious places and go to the beach together afterwards. With no hostile relation to neighbouring nations, Israeli companies could use Israeli Palestinians fluent in Arabic to establish a foothold in all surrounding regional markets. If they're quick enough, Israel could slip into the EU before Turkey and be the hub between Asia, Africa and Europe. The are great possibilities for that little strip of land, but of course with great possibilities also comes great obstacles, as always. It's a pity people over there only see short-sighted goals such as "we want a JEWISH nation", "we want an ISLAMIC nation" and so on. They whack their heads together over immaterial and irrelevant ideas and I bet they haven't even thought a second about the economic possibilities of a union.

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Imagine South Africa in the mid-80s, except most of the black SA inhabitants don't live intermingled with the white ones.

But that's a very big difference.

Few hundreds years of colonization are ways apart from ethnic cleansing.

I don't see a future one state working without one side subjugating the other.

 

 

You could also make the argument that hundred years of colonization is worse that recent ethnic cleansing. I'm sure there has occured something similar to that at some point in SA history as well. Only about 100 years ago, Jews, Christians and Muslims lived side by side in Jerusalem. Is it that naïve to believe they can do so again? Neither Judaism, Christianity or Islam has changed since then. Eventually old grievances are forgotten, it's a pity people can't forget them quicker and get on with what should be their economic priorities.

 

I'm not sure if I'd call this naive so much as 'wishful thinking'.

Not only have all religions in question changed but almost entire middle-east has as well.

Jews are no-longer the fringe minority they once were and Ottoman power is long gone from the region.

The only reason you can say there was peace in those lands is because its inhabitants were a monotonous group religiously and ethnically.

And that would actually justify ethnic cleansing as the permanent 'peaceful' solution to the conflict.

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Plus ca change... as our cousins say.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

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tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Kerry has created a very dangerous situation when the talks almost inevitably will collapse.

 

How is the situation dangerous as opposed to all other talks that have been attempted? Would you prefer the Obama administration did nothing?

 

It's dangerous because when it collapses, the Palestinians will want to retaliate in some way, even though neither party really believes in negotiations, since Abbas is too weak and unpopular to concede anything and so it's not worth it to Israelis to concede anything. So yes, beyond some usual platitudes, Obama should've done nothing.

"Moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity." Marshall McLuhan

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It's dangerous because when it collapses, the Palestinians will want to retaliate in some way, even though neither party really believes in negotiations, since Abbas is too weak and unpopular to concede anything and so it's not worth it to Israelis to concede anything. So yes, beyond some usual platitudes, Obama should've done nothing.

 

Wouldn't you think it a better idea then if Obama put pressure on the Israelis so that they suddenly had something to lose, and pushed for more frequent elections on the Palestinian side?

 

Secondly, the Palestinians (as in "any Palestinian organization") would have no additional psychological reason to "retaliate" after negotiations fail (on the other hand Fatah would lose even more support, which inevitably means people will support Hamas instead, because they are currently the only other big political party over there). Hamas in turn would not have any additional reason to fight Israel more than they already have, since they don't support these negotiations to begin with. So any fight which would occur in the immidiate aftermath of the talks would probably take place between Hamas supporters and Fatah in the West Bank. Of course this would leave Israel more vulnerable, but security in the West Bank is already so tight I don't think there's anything people over there can do. In short: the people who want to fight don't care about these negotiations to begin with, and those who want a solution through these talks are the "peaceniks" who don't believe in a violent solution.

 

Your statement is like saying Amnesty would assassinate Obama over the delays in phasing out Guantanamo. Certainly Al-Qaeda would if they could, but they are not likely to care about these delays to begin with.

 

(Then again, Hamas is losing power in Gaza to the Iran-influced Islamic Jihad)

"Well, overkill is my middle name. And my last name. And all of my other names as well!"

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Point which just occurred to me: if the USA did clamp down on funding for Israel, wouldn't they just immediately go to Putin's Russia?

 

I mean Russia is obviously in the market for a regional buddy, and Israel is a **** of a lot better bet than Syria.

 

Plus, while I don't have any figures, but I'd put 20 quid on there being many more zionists in russia than there are palestinians.

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Point which just occurred to me: if the USA did clamp down on funding for Israel, wouldn't they just immediately go to Putin's Russia?

 

I mean Russia is obviously in the market for a regional buddy, and Israel is a **** of a lot better bet than Syria.

 

Plus, while I don't have any figures, but I'd put 20 quid on there being many more zionists in russia than there are palestinians.

 

That's possible, considering that the USSR was Israel's original BFF, while the US was slightly sceptical. But all that changed pretty quickly, as we all know.

"Well, overkill is my middle name. And my last name. And all of my other names as well!"

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It's dangerous because when it collapses, the Palestinians will want to retaliate in some way, even though neither party really believes in negotiations, since Abbas is too weak and unpopular to concede anything and so it's not worth it to Israelis to concede anything. So yes, beyond some usual platitudes, Obama should've done nothing.

 

Wouldn't you think it a better idea then if Obama put pressure on the Israelis so that they suddenly had something to lose, and pushed for more frequent elections on the Palestinian side?

 

What's the point in pushing Israel when the Palestinians have no intention of negotiating true peace? http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3908/ramallah-peace-process And the last time we pushed for Palestinian elections, we got Hamas.

 

Btw, Israel is so evil they're providing medical treatment to the enemy for free : http://news.yahoo.com/syrians-brave-risks-seek-treatment-israel-155233310.html

"Moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity." Marshall McLuhan

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You will note that 'modern' PR suggests that it is always better to push a different good when caught doing evil.

 

So, "I smash puppies, but give away free ice-cream" is a better line than "I smash puppies, but those specific puppies were bastards."

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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It's dangerous because when it collapses, the Palestinians will want to retaliate in some way, even though neither party really believes in negotiations, since Abbas is too weak and unpopular to concede anything and so it's not worth it to Israelis to concede anything. So yes, beyond some usual platitudes, Obama should've done nothing.

 

Wouldn't you think it a better idea then if Obama put pressure on the Israelis so that they suddenly had something to lose, and pushed for more frequent elections on the Palestinian side?

 

What's the point in pushing Israel when the Palestinians have no intention of negotiating true peace? http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3908/ramallah-peace-process And the last time we pushed for Palestinian elections, we got Hamas.

 

Btw, Israel is so evil they're providing medical treatment to the enemy for free : http://news.yahoo.com/syrians-brave-risks-seek-treatment-israel-155233310.html

 

 

I'm not trying to say Israelis are evil. In fact, the most serious movements for peace originate from within Israel.

 

I don't know the numbers now (things might have changed), but I remember reading that Hamas would overtake Fatah if an election was held at some point before this summer. But I believe that is what you will have to deal with in a democracy. Hamas wouldn't be able to do any shenanigans in the West Bank anyway, it's under such tight control.

 

Yes, a lot of Palestinians don't want any peace, but a lot of Israeli Jews don't want peace either. In Palestine, these nationalist movement are first and foremost Hamas and Islamic Jihad. In Israel, they are represented by the Jewish Home party and also the remains of the former Israel Our Home party which was merged with Likud, and now may or may not constitute a majority of that party. Both these parties are in the current Israeli government, so it's really ironic that the Obama administration has chosen the current time for peace negotiations.

 

There are of course a lot of interesting articles speculating on why Netanyahu is doing this and how he thinks he will succeed. Here's one stating that: "Netanyahu’s dilemma: Only about 45 or 50 current members of the 120-member Knesset would vote against a two-state peace agreement, but 35 or 40 of them are in his current 68-seat coalition. A peace accord could easily win a vote on the Knesset floor, but it’s not clear it could get through the coalition to reach the floor."

 

Even that is a bit optimistic. It is likely that almost every MK who would vote against a permanent peace treaty is within his own coalition. At the moment I can't find another article with a short interview with a Jewish Home MK who say that Netanyahu DEFINITELY does not have a majority in his government for the creation of a Palestinian state, and likely does not have one in his party.

 

So if Netanyahu in spite of what he tells the Israeli public at elections is sincere in these efforts, I would change my bet: the talks will crumble when Netanyahu is forced to leave his own party. Then it's likely that a nationalist will take his place, and who knows what will happen. These folks make no efforts to hide their racism or openly suggest ethnic cleansing so I imagine it will be a shock to the international community.

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If Hamas takes over the West Bank, there will certainly be another Intifada and a huge amount of violence, almost certainly followed by full Israeli re-occupation with all that entails. As far as Netanyahu, he can always pull a Sharon and form a new centrist party if his coalition collapses over the peace treaty. Most Israelis do want real peace, and if they get a reasonable agreement some way would be found to implement it.

"Moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity." Marshall McLuhan

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