StrategyPage sums up the Middle East peace process more niftily than anyone:
The U.S. and other Western nations continue to pressure Israel to stop building Jewish settlements in the West Bank. This is popular in Israel and the foreign pressure to stop is unpopular. As a democracy Israel elects leaders who will do what the voters want. Israel is frustrated at the inability of Western nations to comprehend how opposed the Palestinians are to any peace deal. This is pretty obvious if you take a look at Palestinian media (especially outlets directly controlled by Fatah and Hamas) and opinion polls. The Palestinians don’t want peace with Israel, they want Israel destroyed. This stalemate is incomprehensible to many Western officials, but it makes perfect safe in the Middle East, where consistently acting against your own best interests is an ancient and still popular tradition.
It wasn’t that long ago — not much over a dozen years — that Arafat and the PA were offered almost everything they claimed to want. They would get their own state, all of Gaza, and 93% of the West Bank. There would have been tons of cash too, to …ahh… smooth along the transition to statehood.
Then Arafat scuttled the deal and walked away.
There were two reasons for him to do that. The first was, he didn’t really want a deal. What he wanted to do was start a new and bigger round of Kill the Jews, which he did. Only Israel’s massive new security fence ended the terror. The second reason was, it’s doubtful Arafat could have sold even such a generous deal to his own people. Because what they really wanted was a new and bigger round of Kill the Jews, which they got.
If anything has changed since then, it’s not us and it’s not the Palestinians. It’s the fence. And that’s it.