The New York Times and the Washington Post et al have been busy wasting tons of ink on the supposedly "revived" Middle East peace process.
Forget about it. Ain't gonna happen. Skip to the sports section.
Much has been made, especially in Israel, about the heart-rending sacrifice involved in freeing 104 Palestinian prisoners.
Hey, not to worry; there's plenty more where those came from!
And in the event that the next nine months of talks were to actually result in some sort of agreement, don't worry; Israel has already passed a law that will require any agreement be put to a referendum.
In other words, even if the government and the Knesset approve a deal, at the end of the day it'll be up to the settlers to vote away their settlements.
There'll be hockey in hell before that happens.
So why is the US pushing this charade?
Because all concerned have something to gain, well short of a "peace agreement."
Netanyahu gets to give his international reputation a bit of a face-lift. "Oh look, he's freeing those prisoners as a gesture of goodwill! What a reasonable man!"
Abbas gets to look like he has at least enough schlepp to get 104 prisoners released (approximately 1% of total Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.) Remember, his Hamas rivals were able to secure the freedom of 1027 Palestinians in return for Gilad Shalit. Abbas is desperate to look like he is more than America's stooge in the occupied territories.
The American's are desperate to be seen to be doing anything whatsoever positive in the region in the face of their rapidly evaporating influence with practically all players on all sides.
America's absolutely incompetent fumbling and bumbling in the region just keeps getting more ludicrous.
Did they learn anything from Iraq? Nope!
Got rid of that crazy guy in Libya... wasn't that a good thing?
Sure it was! Just look at how those lucky Libyans have taken to freedom!
Then we have Syria. Assad must go. Assad is going. He'll be gone in a matter of weeks... maybe months... maybe next year...
The Egyptian coup that wasn't a coup is just the latest credibility destroying mis-step for the Americans.
All three parties to these "peace talks" have something to gain without actually gaining a peace agreement.
So let's not get our hopes up.