Of course the peace talks could proceed with no pre-conditions. With each side finding grounds to negotiate and to surrender in some part the demands of the other in something approximating an equal and just determination to find common ground. To collaborate in good faith on a search for meaningful compromises that would promise each side security and a sound basis for a social, economic and political future.
A departure from the past, when the Palestinian Authority, in its previous incarnation as Fatah under Chairman Yasser Arafat authorized the first Intifada to demonstrate precisely what he and his militants thought of Oslo and peace negotiations, resulting in countless deaths. Not quite a entire departure from the present where Mahmoud Abbas is still quietly encouraging 'resistance', while speaking peace-potential.
The PA negotiators are leaning on the Obama administration, expecting it to lift a heavy hand of condemnation against Israeli obduracy again. "We need a practical position from the United States against settlements. I am surprised that America is unable to stop them." Time to meet with the Arab League again.
Well, there do exist practical and obvious solutions to that problem of 300,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank. An equal number of Israeli-Palestinians within Israel. Negotiations to carve out borders that would include/exclude the offending Jews/Arabs, leaving them where they belong, each with their respective countries within common-sense, newly-drawn borders sounds like a potential.
Israel's foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has long advocated just such a solution, and it's not a far-fetched one. Former U.S. president Clinton may consider the million Russian Jews now Israeli citizens a hindrance to a peaceful solution, but their leader is not shy of expressing common hard-headed sense. Jewish settlers would be delighted to be incorporated into greater Israel.
Israeli-Arabs, with the prospect of losing Israeli citizenship and becoming citizens of a new Palestinian state, perhaps not quite so delighted, but they could become accustomed to the idea. And the Palestinian Members of the Knesset who find such dreadful fault with the State which has given them freedom and equality and opportunities could then criticize Israel from the other side of the border.
And given the reality that Palestinians continue to violently attack Jews whenever and wherever opportunities arise, separation is never a bad thing. At least until both sides learn to become more civil and discontinue the use of violence. Toward which end Mr. Lieberman's recommendation of a "two-staged" solution to take a "few decades" to complete, makes eminent good sense.
Within those few decades the Palestinian Authority could change its school curricula to portray Jews as neighbours, not rapacious enemies to be engaged in bloody battle. And it could undertake to do its duty as a civilized society by encouraging all of its citizens to respect the human rights of others to live in peace and security without constant threats and bombardments.
France, Germany, the European Union in fact, the United States and the United Nations could become accustomed to the realization that Israel has a right to exist and their obligation to support its existence a trifle less critically than has been done, and an equal obligation to anticipate and demand from the Palestinians behaviour more becoming a civil, nascent-nation.
And all of them, the United States in particular, would do well to view a trifle more clearly that the urgency to deflect Iran from its nuclear pursuits has little-to-nothing to do with settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and far, far more to do with overweening religious fanaticism and political-ideological ambitions to control the Middle East and eventually the world of the West.