Hope for middle east peace can be helpful if it creates pressure on both sides to take the steps in negotiations necessary for a viable peace agreement to be produced. But it can be destructive if it encourages either side to enter into agreements that it cannot sustain. Better no agreement than one that temporarily raises hopes only to dash them, as happened after the Oslo Accord in 1993 when neither side followed through in creating the changes in consciousness needed to make the accord viable.

No matter what agreements are worked out in negotiations such as those fostered by Secretary of State John Kerry, they are unlikely to succeed until a dramatic reconciliation of the heart takes place among the various parties to the conflict. Without such a reconciliation, even a globally popular settlement agreement (as the Oslo Accord was when it was...

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