The ongoing issue as to whether there can be peace in the Middle East is all too frequently described as an impossible task. President Mahmoud Abbas made clear after talks with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia that he is prepared for negotiations that would resolve issues between the Palestinian Authority and the government of Israel. He insisted there be a halt to further housing construction in the West Bank until all issues have been discussed at a peace conference. He expects Israel to recognize the existence of an independent Palestinian state and work in a cooperative manner to explore how to settle issues such as refugees and security for both nations.
Peace is possible. but an important initial step would be to halt settlement development until AFTER an agreement is reached. Hopefully, during negotiations a sensible plan can be reached which allows Jews to continue occupying a certain portion of the West Bank in exchange for territorial compensation elsewhere. Nothing can proceed as long as settlements are being built.