JERUSALEM, Israel - Political pundits are busy speculating whether the newly restarted direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians will falter.
Palestinian Authority officials rarely let a day go by without telling one media outlet or another they'll bolt the negotiations if building resumes in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria - the West Bank.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is keeping a low profile while pundits speculate that he's wheeling and dealing with members of his coalition so he can capitulate to U.S. pressure and extend the building freeze for two months.
The Palestinian Authority puts the blame squarely in Israel's court, having been emboldened by backing from the Obama administration, the Arab League, United Nations, and the European Union. World's news agencies are happy to provide the media coverage.
According to most media reports, if Netanyahu isn't willing to compromise, all is lost and the peace process goes out the window.
For example, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the PA has fulfilled all its commitments, "but Israel has not taken one step toward peace," The Associated Press reported.
It's unclear what commitments Abbas is referring to and how he concluded that Israel hasn't taken "one step toward peace."
Israel suspended building in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria for 10 months in an effort to woo Palestinians back to the negotiating table. They also removed many security checkpoints to allow more freedom of movement for Arab residents of the West Bank.
A few articles explain why Israeli communities aren't the root of the problem.
In one op-ed piece posted by YNet news Thursday, Israeli-born Kansas City-based attorney Shoula Horing asked why Obama is "adopting the Palestinian point of view and recycling a mostly mythical controversy that settlements are the major obstacle to negotiations and peace in the Middle East."
"The claim that settlement activity is an obstacle to peace because it will supposedly diminish the territory of a future Palestinian entity is baseless," Horing writes, noting that "all 121 settlements…are estimated to be just 1.7 percent of the territory."
Two-thirds of the Jewish residents of these communities live in five major blocks, four of which "are very close to the 1949 armistice line [Green Line] and many of them are suburbs of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv."
But the facts on the ground don't seem to phase the international community's efforts to convince Israel to uproot more than 300,000 people and cede the area to a group of people committed to the acquisition of the rest of the country piece by piece - in essence to commit national suicide.
It's said that if you repeat a lie often enough, eventually people believe it. And that's what the proponents of the two states for two peoples "solution" appear to be counting on.