JERUSALEM, Israel -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has lowered expectations of reaching an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority within the nine-month time period, which expires at the end of April.
Even Kerry's widely publicized framework agreement will require more time to actualize, if at all. According to a Jerusalem Post report, the U.S. now views the April 29 deadline as "artificial."
The bottom line is very little has changed during Kerry's seven months of intensive shuttle diplomacy.
P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas frequently reiterates that his government will never recognize Israel as the Jewish nation-state.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says an agreement that acknowleges a Palestinian state but not a Jewish state is a nonstarter. The international community, he says, should hold Abbas responsible for his intransigence.
Meanwhile Hamas, the Islamist faction ruling Gaza, and Fatah, Abbas' party, are not a bit closer to reconciliation.
Much like Iran, Hamas intends to eventually eliminate the Jewish state. Its leaders vow not to yield an "inch" of Palestine, and some Fatah officials, like Jabril Rajoub, agree with their Hamas counterparts that "armed resistance" is the way to liberate "Palestine" from its Zionist occupiers.
Hamas continues calling on Abbas to end the U.S.-brokered peace talks with Israel as well as security arrangements with the Israeli military in the West Bank, biblical Judea and Samaria.
Both factions call for the return of some 5 million "Palestinian refugees" to an Israel they envision within the 1948 armistice lines, which former Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Abbas Eban called "Auschwitz lines" because they are literally indefensible.