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Informal talks still have a role

"...more important reason that this type of diplomacy is waning can be attributed to the fact that Israel's government, Knesset and public opinion have been drifting towards the right--so much so that those who might have championed joint initiatives and track II efforts feel discouraged and have become less engaged."

Volatile, but unpredictable

"The collapse of the status quo does not necessarily mean a resumption of violence, however. It might mean something else. The history of the Palestinian people under occupation has shown that dramatic changes were not foreseen. Politicians and analysts have had trouble predicting the outcome of major shifts in our cause. We are at such a crossroads now, but it is only safe to say that there is an urgency in the air that requires serious attention by the international community. It is not easy for anyone to know or predict, however, what exactly will happen and when."

Ultimately crippling

"This financial crisis is not new. Nor is Israel's withholding of Palestinian tax revenues. We lived with similar crises when we had a government led by Hamas, and during Israel's 2002 reoccupation of the Palestinian territories and destruction of Palestinian infrastructure. However, the effect of the current financial crisis is different because this crisis comes on top of political stagnation. Now we have the combination of political stagnation, in which the Palestinian Authority is unable to deliver politically due to Israeli settlement activities, together with a financial crisis in which the Palestinian leadership is unable to deliver financially and economically. The combination of these is crippling."

When the Coffers Run Dry

"The bottom line is this: Israel is basically stealing Palestinian money by not releasing it while the international community squirms in its seat because it knows it should do something against this outrage and just doesn’t have the gumption to do it. But we also know Israel will release the money eventually because the alternative is just as bad for Israel as it is for us....That doesn’t solve the problem though. It just means we are safe for now, a temporary fix. Israel will do what’s in its best interest, always and forever. Let’s start doing the same for ourselves."

The politics of illusion

"The PLO leadership is trying to convince the Palestinian people, the Arab world and many others of a false hope. It is agreeing to accept a truncated Palestinian state without Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied in 1967 and without huge parts of East Jerusalem. It is "declarations" that are the politics of the PLO, not real achievements on the ground. The PLO leaders are convinced that publishing declarations and disseminating illusions will serve their goal of staying in power. Meanwhile, Palestinians will continue to suffer without a hope for a just solution to their problem."

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