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A lot of the media's time and energy is being devoted to the ongoing issue of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and particularly Jerusalem.
Some have suggested that the sides first must deal with the issue of borders and find a formula that both sides will be able to live with in peace and security. On the onset that sounds fairly soild because, particularly for us in America, neighbors get along best when they both know where each others property ends and begins. Neighborly relations may or may not get on before or after this establishment, but here in the Middle East, and particularly at this time of elevated expectations from the American Administration and the Arab world, the parties here have to make sure they don't provoke one another and thus drive peace efforts further away.
And speaking of driving peace away – you probably heard about the violent put down of a radical Islamic Sheik in Gaza that claimed 26 lives with scores hurt. Hamas made no waste of time and no apologies for the decisive display of force used against the opposition.
Quick to point out the rush to force was the rival Fatah movement. During all of last week there was a Fatah conference in Bethlehem – just down the road from here in Jerusalem. Most of the pundits have given the outcome of the gathering a '0'.
All the more reason some suppose that the chance of achieving a permanent peace agreement between Palestinians and this current government of the Israelis is next to nothing. On both sides there is an unwillingness to compromise on the fundamental issues.
There are actions taken by parties on both sides that perpetuate the conflict.
The majority of both publics have to ensure that the terms 'peace' and 'two states' won't come to mean nothing.
Middle East Correspondant