Peace talks' childishness

The so-called peace talks are now on life-support but the surgeon has given up and left. Things must be bad when John Kerry resorts to the blame game. But by singling out Israel as the primary destroyer of the talks, Mr Kerry was merely echoing the childishness and bone-headed politicking that has characterised these negotiations from day one.

In a speech in Jerusalem in January, Mahmoud Abbas declared that he would never give up the Palestinian right of return — for Israel, the biggest dealbreaker. Later, at a crucial moment, Abbas did his best to torpedo the talks by unilaterally applying to join 15 UN bodies. Benjamin Netanyahu continued to announce new settlements throughout. He insisted on no preconditions for the talks while apparently keeping one for himself — the recognition of Israel as the Jewish state. And he refused to release prisoners at another crunch moment.

The evidence suggests nobody really wanted a deal. Nobody except millions of ordinary Israelis and Palestinians, who can expect more violence, more fear and more economic misery if the talks finally collapse.

Last updated: 4:59pm, April 10 2014