I noticed this nice column in Ynet today which points out, quite realistically, that none of the negotiations occuring publicly or secretly between Olmert and Abbas have any chance of being resulting in a final status agreement. However, while the column provides four coherent reasons for this, I would suggest there is only one.
It is no accident that, as Abba Eban once famously said, the Arabs "never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity." Far from being incompetent at bungling repeated historical chances at establishing a state, the Arab leadership has proved to be an example of consistency and firmness.
Consider that until Jews started making aliyah en masse in the early 20th century that the Arab population of Israel was small and considered as part of the Syrian Arab population. It was only when the Jewish pioneers turned the empty, desolate land into something productive and growing that Arab interest in Israel became significant.
Similarly, the Arabs ruled Yerushalayim for 19 years after the War of Indepedence. In all that time, the only Arab leader who visited the Al Aksa Mosque was King Abdullah I of Jordan and he was killed for his efforts. Given the constant importance we see attached to Yerushalayim in Moslem thought, this inconsistency must make one pause. In fact, the entire time they controlled Yerushalayim the Arabs couldn't have cared less about it. It was only when the hated infidel Jews took it over that it suddenly became the "ancient capital of the Palestinian people".
Remember that the PLO (may they and their names be erased) was created by the Arab League not as an organization dedicated to creating a 23rd Arab state but as an irregular fighting force and terrorist group in the ongoing war against Israel. Understand this and suddenly Yassir Arafat's refusal to agree to Ehud Barak's unilateral surrender in 2000 at Camp David suddenly becomes logical. Arafat (may his name also be erased and may lice infest all his descendants, other family and friends) was hired, as it were, to destroy Israel, not create Palestine. Agreeing to the Camp David Accords would have ended the Oslo Process without accomplishing that goal because he would have had to give up on any further claims against Israel. Unlike the Oslo Discord which was left open at the end, there was no wiggle room this time. Never mind that his word was worth nothing. Trying to reopen negotiations would have given a moral advantage to Israel. Therefore, he could not accept it.
And that is why all successive "moderate" Arab leaders have continued to insist they're ready to make peace with Israel only if Israel agrees to their impossible conditions, including a unilateral retreat to the "suicide borders" of 1967 with no accomodation for thriving Jewish cities and communities in Yehudah and Shomron, and a demand that Israel accept two million supposed refugees, most of whom have no genuine attachment to the land of Israel. How else to understand the constant position of the Saudis that Israel accept a peace deal that will lead to its destruction as the minimum price for a peace agreement that the Arabs won't honour anyway?
In a few days we will recite these words at the Seder: In every generation they rise up against us but the Holy One Blessed Be He rescues us from their hands." This year, like all the ones before, is no different. The peace process is a joke because the other side does not want peace!
Instead of worrying about the feelings and aspirations of those who would kill us all given the chance, let us learn to love one another and feel strong in our loyalty to God and His Torah. This will be of far greater benefit and earn us much more respect from the world than syncophantic grovelling for the approval of our enemies which they have no intent of giving us.