Israel never had as few excuses for evading progress toward peace, the ambient climate was never more conducive to progress. The terror card cannot be played again, because the terror has abated. Qassams landing on Sderot and a childish assassination attempt are not a reason to evade the peace process. This low level of terror will, unfortunately, continue to accompany Israeli-Palestinian relations for years to come. We must learn to live with it, and above all recognize that it will not stop in the absence of an agreement that will put an end to the occupation. There is more. The security issue is much greater today on the Palestinian side. Israel can no longer continue to mouth slogans about security, after seven years in which it killed 4,267 Palestinians, 861 of them children and teens, in comparison to 467 Israelis who were killed, according to data from B’Tselem.
Another excuse that no longer washes is the “no partner” one. Israel has never had an easier peace partner than Mahmoud Abbas. True, he represents barely half the Palestinian people – Olmert represents an even smaller proportion – and true, it would be preferable if the Palestinian team going to Annapolis were to include Hamas, but that is no reason not to try. We destroyed Yasser Arafat as a partner – and the time has come to regret it – but we can no longer use the weakness of his successor as an excuse: Israel did all it could to create that situation. [complete article]