Segev in the Washington Post:
The latest violence hasonce again brought reporters from all over the world to the region. Many of them wonder why Israelis and Palestinians don't simply agree to divide the land between them. Indeed, Israeli leaders support a two-state solution, which had previously been advocated only by the extreme left. Palestinian leaders, though not the heads of Hamas, have agreed to accept this solution. Apparently, only the details of the agreement have to be worked out. If only it were that simple.
This conflict is not merely about land and water and mutual recognition. It is about national identity. Both the Israelis and the Palestinians define themselves by the Holy Land — all of it. Any territorial compromise would compel both sides to relinquish part of their identity.
In recent years, with the rise of Hamas and the increasing militance of some Jewish settlers, this precariously irrational conflict has also assumed a more religious character — and thereby become even more difficult to solve. Islamic fundamentalists, as well as Jewish ones, have made control of the land part of their faith, and that faith is dearer to them than human life.
So I find myself among the new majority of Israelis who no longer believe in peace with the Palestinians. The positions are simply too far apart at this time.