In my view, there is no such thing as a good war or a bad peace: If the legitimate representatives of two peoples agree to make peace, outsiders have no business condemning the peace as "diabolical". They can say that the peace is unfair, and should be renegotiated. But they should not say that war is preferable--to do so is to use real people who suffer and die as shadow puppets in a play you have scripted to give yourself some kind of emotional satisfaction.
A “framework agreement” will shortly be reached, and a final settlement will probably be signed in the last six months or so of President Obama’s term in office. When the Kerry process was first announced I was virtually alone in predicting that it would actually go somewhere; now, it’s widely assumed. Many respected Israeli commentators now take for granted that an agreement is just a matter of time.
In recent weeks the Kerry talks have apparently focused on Israel’s demands for (i) an enduring military presence in the Jordan Valley and (ii) Palestinian recognition of it as a “Jewish state.” The Palestinians will negotiate some face-saving deal on the Jordan Valley involving a US-Israeli joint presence for a period of time. The Jordan Valley was already essentially resolved at the Annapolis negotiations in 2008. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is raising it now only so he can later claim to be making a “heart-wrenching concession”—Israel is adept at “conceding” things to which it has no title in the first place—by allowing for only a temporary US-Israeli presence along the border. It’s been received wisdom for years—even pro-Israel hack Dennis Ross concedes it in The Missing Peace—that the Jordan Valley has no strategic value.
On the “Jewish state,” the agreement will probably resolve on the formula: Israel as the state of the Jewish people and its citizens, Palestine as the state of the Palestinian people and its citizens. It will afford (legal) protection for Israel’s Palestinian citizens, but will negate the right of return for Palestinian refugees, which is what Israel really cares about. Palestinian President Abbas can then claim it as a victory because he secured the rights of Palestinians in Israel.
The whole thing is diabolical...