One could not believe in the negotiations Israel is conducting with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank; one may also believe that the parties want to succeed, but cannot. One also may think that talks cannot proceed without the elected representation of the Palestinian people, who chose Hamas. There are also no negotiations without Gaza. And now, after we have properly frowned on all these negotiations, we may also decide that for the moment, that’s all there is: Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni on one side and Mahmoud Abbas and Saeb Erekat on the other – with all their weaknesses.
The talks they are conducting are not meant to bring peace; even they do not pretend that is the case. After 40 years of occupation and bloodshed, all that is on the agenda – shamefully – is a “shelf agreement” that no one can implement at the moment. It is precisely for this reason that this paper, bearing no expectations, will not shame those who sign it. Precisely because it is only a document with mere declarative and symbolic significance – and in this sense it may be a landmark document – it is important that it touch on the core issues.