Can we all go home now?

Hamas and Fatah have been holding “reconciliation” talks in Egypt. The idea is to produce some sort of Palestinian unity” government. These talks have broken down, however, and the reason provides further proof, as if any were needed, that efforts by Israel to achieve “peace” with the Palestinians are a fool’s errand.

According to Salah Bardaweel, a Hamas negotiator and legislator, the reconciliation talks broke down because Fatah took the position that there would be no unity government unless Hamas accepted all previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinians and recognized Israel’s right to exist. Hamas considered this demand outrageous on its face, to the point that Bardaweel accused Fatah of intentionally “foiling the talks” by asserting it. “They set impossible conditions,” he charged.

Fatah reportedly insisted that Hamas recognize Israel’s right to exist under pressure from the U.S., and there is little reason to assume that Fatah actually does accept that right. Nonetheless, one can at least argue that Israel should consider “taking chances for peace” with a “partner” that is prepared to mouth the right sentiments. No such case can be made where a key representative of the Palestinians — and quite possibly the most popular one — insists, as Bardaweel did this weekend, that Hamas will never recognize either Israel’s right to exist or the agreements between the PLO and Israel.

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