Abbas, Haniyeh talk of a speedy reconciliation | The Times of Israel

Palestinian pact with Hamas threatens US aid | The Times of Israel

Abbas to announce his Hamas-backed government will recognize Israel | The Times of Israel

Of late, things seem changed on the Israeli-Palestinian front. But whether these changes are of major significance to the broader aspect of so long-standing a dispute remains to be seen.

Points to contemplate:

1. Will the suspension of negotiations stir both sides to greater efforts in their search for peace?

2. Does the impending Fatah-Hamas partnership reveal other possibilities for engagement between what might now be considered two instead of three principals here?

3. Have relations reached a new low between contending parties, making matters even harder to deal with than they already were?

4. Or is it simply a question of ‘ the more things change, the more they remain the same ‘?

Somehow I suspect it must the latter and, if so, then future events and outcomes seem destined to follow a course not so very different from all that has gone before.

And therein lies the problem.

There is such little expectation of convergence in the paths that each set of travellers has taken. There is still no real meeting of minds nor does any framework exist within which mutual aspirations and dreams can be realised.

Then, perhaps, it is now time that there was. – ‘ for those of us with better things to do.’

Here, all aggressive activity is nullified to the maximum extent; there is no longer a Sword of Damocles hanging in permanent readiness over everyone’s head. Threats and disruptions to meaningful negotiations are no more and plans for a proper settlement of the issues can be carried forward with a marked degree of confidence. In such a new and relatively relaxed atmosphere, the chances for a lasting peace are increased almost to the point of certainty, all need of further conflict having been mathematically separated and dispensed with from whatever lies ahead.

‘The more things change, the more they remain the same ‘

Well, things do change. But often this is only because of just how much of a change we are all prepared to make. In ourselves and by ourselves.