President Obama's early efforts have failed, and a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians now looks as distant as ever, writes Roger Cohen. It was a mistake to think the land-for-peace talks of 2000 could simply be revived despite the violence, expansion of settlements, and Israel's construction of the 250-mile separation barrier, Cohen writes in the New York Times.
The barrier demonstrates that Israel has no intention of abandoning its settlement program, Cohen notes. Obama should start to "ratchet expectations downward" and focus on creating detente and a nonviolent status quo instead of trying to forge a peace deal. "Peace and walls do not go together. But a truce and walls just may," Cohen writes. "And that, I must reluctantly conclude, is the best that can be hoped for."