President Abbas has been invited to come to Washington in March, in what seems to be his last hurrah, to meet U.S. President Barack Obama. The meeting, as usual, will take place after Benjamin Netanyahu's own talks with Obama.
It's okay to pressure the Israeli government to do its share in order to promote a peace accord, but it seems many have forgotten that there are two sides to this conflict, and that the welfare of the Palestinians depends on many things.
Neither Netanyahu nor Abbas has demonstrated bold and visionary leadership, which is surely needed at this fateful juncture. The Israeli-Palestinian annals are saturated with self-denial and resistance to the inevitable, and there is little evidence that much has changed.
At this point we have no idea what US Secretary of State John Kerry is going to propose to the Israelis and Palestinians. Because no comprehensive peace agreement is within reach, we are told that the Secretary is working, instead, on a "Framework Agreement."
Each September, Mahmoud Abbas stands before the UN General Assembly and in fiery, confrontational language, gives a speech almost fully comprised of allegations of Israel's crimes and misdeeds against the Palestinian people.
There is an urgent need to seriously engage in public discussions about the future of Jerusalem because sooner or later the Israelis and Palestinians must be prepared to accept the inevitable -- a united Jerusalem, yet a capital of two states.
While Hamas's words do not play into the kind of peace language that Washington seeks to frame with the renewed talks, does Hamas's response carry weight as an outside player? Western analysts and Washington peace negotiators prefer to think not.
Nobody would deny that the obstacles are formidable and nobody ever got rich betting on the prospects of Israeli-Palestinian peace. But some of the underlying conditions have changed, creating a spark of hope that this time could be different.
I am not entirely sanguine that either the Palestinian Authority's Mahmoud Abbas or Israel's Netanyahu are ready, willing or able to make peace. Netanyahu is an ideologue who does not really believe in a two-state solution. Conversely, Abbas is politically weak.
Conventional wisdom says this is not the time to forge a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Conventional wisdom also says we have passed midnight for a two state solution; unconventional wisdom says clocks can be pushed back.