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In the name of peace, Israelis and Palestinians should become European

Membership in the EU would be a win-win-win.

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Scratch just a bit under the hope generated by the coming electoral changes in Washington, Jerusalem, and maybe Ramallah, and you discover deep despair about the possibility of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

The roads taken in the last 15 years in pursuit of a deal – the negotiations since Oslo, the unilateralism of the Gaza disengagement, and even the violence since the (second) Intifada – all failed.

The opponents of an agreement did not waste that time, however: The number of Israeli settlers grew almost threefold since the early days of the peace process, making a territorial compromise even more difficult.

Political leadership on both sides offers little hope for reconciliation. The Palestinian national movement is weak and deeply divided. The coming Israeli elections will most likely bring about a more hawkish Israeli Parliament, if not a more conservative prime minister.

A sense of hopelessness has reached even the most committed peace activists. The Palestinian activist Sari Nusseibeh, for example, wondered publicly if territorial compromise is still an option. And Israel's Yossi Beilin recently announced that he will retire from politics altogether.

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