Congratulations, John Kerry. You've not only managed to get Israel and the Palestinian Authority to agree on new peace talks, you've even managed to score some prisoner releases in advance. What's next? Only for both sides to "sit down and yell at each other before retreating to their respective corners, thus providing the next secretary of state a chance to score yet another 'Groundhog Day' Middle East breakthrough," writes Jeffrey Goldberg at Bloomberg View. Kerry, in short, is on a "fool's errand." Why the pessimism? For one thing, Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority represent only "half of Palestine"—these talks ignore the reality of Hamas.
"How do you negotiate a state into existence that is divided between two warring factions?" And then there's the ever-expanding Jewish settlements on the West Bank. Israel has plenty of politicians who would rather torpedo the peace process than give up even one of them. Kerry might have a better shot negotiating such problems separately with each side, writes Goldberg. "I'd like to be proved wrong, but given my doubts about the viability of a two-state solution ... I'm not imagining great success for Kerry in the coming months." In fact, this just may make things worse. Click for Goldberg's full column. (The Bloomberg editors, meanwhile, think Kerry would be better served focusing on Iran's nuclear program.)