That was quick. The "peace process" announced by Secretary of State John Kerry has turned out to be less than meets the eye. He told reporters Friday that "important details need to be worked out" before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sit down face to face. But if they are, what then? Any progress in the "peace process" is unlikely in light of some unpleasant realities.
Mr. Abbas is struggling to form a "unity government" with Hamas, which does not recognize the Jewish state and will not give up terrorism. He has showed no ability or will to move forward on a peace deal. And, at most, Mr. Abbas speaks on behalf of the West Bank, but what "peace" is attainable so long as Hamas rules Gaza?
The ascendancy of Iran and its Hezbollah allies naturally make Israel far more nervous about its long-term security. With no sign that the United States intends to challenge the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah-Russia alliance, the Israeli government has little motivation to take on additional security risks. And with a crippled Egyptian government, new threats come from Sinai.
The danger in talks is that Palestinian expectations rise and then are dashed, leading to violence. (We've seen this before.) Moreover, this is a foolish misuse of American attention and stature, confirming both to our Sunni allies and the Iranian alliance that we are unserious about the real threats to the region.
Pretending that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the center of the Middle East's troubles invites failure, U.S. humiliation and aggression by the powers that should command our attention. Meanwhile, the prospects for a better life for the Palestinians and a less confrontational relationship with the Jewish state remain remote.
Jennifer Rubin writes for The Washington Post.