Hopes for peace between Israel and the Palestinians exist in a world that is stuck between the darkest hours of the night and a bright and false dawn. Mostly it’s night. Beware whenever you hear references to a renewal of a “peace process”. It has hard to bring dead initiatives back to life.
Perhaps President Donald Trump, unpredictably as ever, will spring a big diplomatic surprise.
But if recent leaks are correct, the US president seems to be preparing to announce a deal that suits his supporters and Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
President Trump may believe, truly and without doubt, that he is offering the “deal of the century”. It might be for Mr Netanyahu. Israel may be given the green light to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank based on the areas in which it has settled Jews.
The Palestinians will be told that it is in their best interests to accept reality, concentrate on economic sweeteners instead of defeated national aspirations and realise fast that they would be making a grave mistake to turn the deal down.
But they are already boycotting the Trump Administration because of its overtly pro-Israeli agenda, and they are planning a “day of rage”.
Bitterness and blame
President Trump’s deal may look more like a surrender document than anything else, a chance for Israel to seal its victory over the Palestinians once and for all, seven decades after its own independence and more than a century since Zionist settlement in Palestine began.
Most Israelis would say that Zionism and the creation of their state was the legitimate return of a persecuted people to their historic and religious homeland. Most Palestinians would say that Zionism is responsible for the catastrophic colonisation and theft of their land.