On one hand, Israel has put out feelers that it can effectively work with Fatah as a peace partner. Yet the reality is that this is the old faction that was an outgrowth of the PLO of Yasser Arafat, and Israel always stopped short of any real peace with this faction whenever the subject of Jerusalem was advanced.
Fatah may be the much preferred Palestinian leadership organization among both the United States and Israel. Yet before Hamas was able to win a convincing election victory after President Bush pushed for free elections in the Palestinian Authority region, peace was always as elusive as ever with Fatah, and Israeli military action against Palestinians and their governing officials was common in response to terrorist incidents.
Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, may be putting out some welcome mat to Fatah. But the reality is that the historic capital city of Jerusalem is simply too important for Israel to give up partial control of which was won in the 1967 Six-Day War, with the Palestinians retaining control of the other part of the city.
Palestinians continue to believe in the importance of the city to their faith, although Jerusalem is never mentioned in the Koran. However, it was only after the Romans seized control of the region from the Jews in ancient times that others began to accept the Roman controlled state as their own, and the construction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque which started after the 687 shrine by Abd al-Malik, which set in motion various constructions of the Mosque until 1033 A.D. On the other hand, the ancient Jewish control of Jerusalem began back in 1000BCE with the kingdom of Judah and lasted until 580BCE when the kingdom was considered completely lost to invaders from Babylon(now Iraq).
The religious importance placed by both the Muslims and Jews for this city will make it a permanent hurdle to any lasting peace in the region. Muslims will insist that Jerusalem must be part of any lasting peace agreement, while those in Israel refuse to put this historic capital city even up for discussion. All of this will only leave the very elusive lasting peace agreement situation in a stalemate like it has been in since 1948 with 4 million Palestinian refugees from this war and then compounded by the 1967 war just about where it now stands. Nothing much is likely to change in the Mideast, and the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians will only continue with no real conclusion in sight.
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