with the recent show israel has made in "accepting" the so-called quartet's call for a resumption of negotiations with the palestinians, there's one awkward fact standing in the way of a meaningful deal:
Barak: Israel-Palestinians must find path to talks - Houston Chronicle: "TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Israel must find a way to resume negotiations with the Palestinians and has a responsibility to try to ease tensions with its neighbors in the region, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Monday amid prodding from the United States to return to peace talks."israel is accepted as a state which will either accept or reject calls for negotiations; the palestinians are an amorphous blob, an identity rather than an entity, which forever makes their position vis a via negotiations a weak one.
this is what israel found so offensive about the palestinians' appeal at the UN for some kind of statehood recognition. so far the israeli government has been able to deal with an aspiration instead of a nation, sort of the way the US is engaged in a war against "terrorism," instead of an extant state. in both cases, by making the other side so nebulous, it makes any sort of resolution impossible
this is simply par for the course, as they say. israel has no intention of engaging with the palestinians, regardless of the stature or status of the other side. having been put into an uncomfortable position in the UN, the israeli will attempt to demonstrate an eagerness to parley, but only on terms that are utterly unacceptable. as such, this is nothing but a delaying tactic, a diversion from the real problem that stifles progress.
start the talks with the assumption that israeli's borders are roughly those before the 1967 war, more or less, and there could be a swift and methodical resolution to this long-festering situation. it's very simple. israel intends to never relinquish any of the lands it has expropriated in palestine, and only when palestine is recognized as a state within the borders under the the UN partition of palestine can there be a chance for peace.
if this isn't possible, the only other option is the single-state solution. if this is preferable, then so be it.