In the Middle East, the last five years has seen the greatest geopolitical change for a century. Iraq, Yemen and Syria are no longer territorially coherent functioning states, with the civil war in the latter a stain on humanity. Egypt has had a revolution, democracy, theocracy and a coup, whilst the West’s nearly 40 year-long cold war with Iran has begun to thaw, just as the whole region is engulfed in a Sunni-Shia/Saudi-Iranian proxy war.
Yet the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—the hinge on which the rest of the region used to swing—has been strangely static. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heads a right-wing coalition with no real interest in pursuing a two-state solution, while President Mahmoud Abbas oversees a fractured and corrupt Palestinian Authority with no ability to deliver a deal, nor even to visit Gaza, where Hamas continues to reign, and misery continues to prevail. Just as history is being written and re-written all around them, Israelis and Palestinians remain submerged in a decade-long status quo of creeping settlement growth and sporadic violence.