My thanks to friend Gil Frank, who called my attention to this long but realistic-sounding diagnosis of why negotiations failed. For those who want to know, here it is in Ynet (Yediot Achranot), in this embedded link:
To summarize briefly: according to unnamed U.S. State Department sources, the unwillingness of this Israeli government coalition to curtail settlements, doomed these talks; but Tzipi Livni is given credit for “bravery” in trying, while being undercut by others in the coalition. As for Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas:
“He agreed to a demilitarized state; he agreed to the border outline so 80 percent of settlers would continue living in Israeli territory; he agreed for Israel to keep security sensitive areas (mostly in the Jordan Valley – NB) for five years, and then the United States would take over. He accepted the fact that in the Israeli perception, the Palestinians would never be trustworthy.
“He also agreed that the Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem would remain under Israeli sovereignty, and agreed that the return of Palestinians to Israel would depend on Israeli willingness. ‘Israel won’t be flooded with refugees,’ he promised.
“He told us: ‘Tell me if there’s another Arab leader that would have agreed to what I agreed to. I won’t make any more concessions until Israel agrees to the three following terms:
- Outlining the borders would be the first topic under discussion. It would be agreed upon within three months.
- A timeframe would be set for the evacuation of Israelis from sovereign Palestinian territories (Israel had agreed to complete the evacuation of Sinai within three years).
- Israel will agree to have East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.
[But] The Israelis would not agree to any of the three demands.”