Jacob Heilbrunn

Traitorous Palestinians?

Did the Palestinian Authority almost engage in a Munich? Was it about to sellout Palestinian national interests in 2008?

That is the gist of the accusations being lodged by the unfriendly local government in the Gaza strip known as Hamas. Al Jazeera is reporting that it has uncovered, or acquired, documents revealing that negotiator Ahmed Ourei was ready to sanction most Jewish settlements in Jerusalem. This has elicited howls of protest from Hamas, real or feigned, which is seizing upon the chance to pose as the true defender of Palestinian national interests.

In one sense this gets the issue out into the open. In another it shows how intractable negotiations remain. The Europeans are outing a draft UN security council resolution to reaffirm the illegitimacy of the Israeli settlements. But Israel remains contumacious. Such a resolution will probably only cause it to dig in. Literally.

President Obama can only lose by getting involved. It would be surprising if he even mentions the Israeli and Palestinian conflict in his State of the Union address. There is little left to negotiate. Both sides have done it ad nauseam. They know, more or less, what the final terms will look like. But that hardly means they will agree to them.