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Further hardening the Palestinian position is that the society is much more Islamic than 20 years ago. Arafat, not Hamas, instituted radical Islamic curriculum into the schools, and he put fiery clerics on TV to deliver weekly sermons. His idea was both to co-opt Hamas and to pull the society behind his terror campaign.

Arafat might be gone, but the poison remains in the well. So even if Mr. Abbas has a miraculous change of heart and embraces peace with a Jewish state of Israel, it’s not clear he’d have any meaningful support at home.

Which raises the question hanging over the entire peace process: Would the Palestinians accept an agreement to live side by side with a Jewish state of Israel and relinquish what they’ve long envisioned as Palestine?

Until there’s at least a chance that Palestinians would embrace true peace, it’s a safe bet that while Israelis want peace, they won’t care about the seemingly endless cycle of peace talks.

Joel Mowbray is a journalist living in New York City.