America, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations - the Quartet - have now apparently decided that their shared vision of creating a second Arab State in former Palestine -in addition to Jordan - is unrealistic and unattainable.
It has taken the Quartet four years of fruitless endeavour to finally understand that this vision has turned into a nightmare, that its' negotiating skills have been found wanting, totally inept and ineffective, and that its' inability to exercise any persuasive leadership or control over the negotiations has made it the laughing stock of the Arab world.
Competent negotiators know that you don't start negotiations unless you can reasonably be assured of a successful outcome. The Quartet has stumbled badly and its' reputation has been shot to pieces.
You would think that in these circumstances the Quartet would understand the need to go back to the drawing board and formulate a new policy that did not have the creation of another Arab State in former Palestine as its' centrepiece.
Instead the Quartet has decided to create a symphony orchestra by joining with the 22 members of the Arab League in pursuing the League's outdated and totally flawed 2002 Peace Initiative - which calls for precisely the same second Arab State to be created in former Palestine.
By what stretch of the imagination does the Quartet believe the Arab Plan will succeed when its' own plan has so spectacularly failed to be implemented in even the smallest detail?
Does the Arab plan have any more desirable features than the Quartet's Plan to enable this new Arab state - the 23rd in the world - to be created?
Definitely not for the following reasons:
(i) It demands the right of return to Israel of all Arabs (and their descendants) who have not lived there for the last 60 years , which even our intrepid Quartet found to be totally unrealistic.
The Quartet's view on this outrageous proposal is set out in the letter George Bush gave to Israel's then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the White House on 14 April 2004 (the Bush Pledge) which explicitly stated:
"It seems clear that an agreed, just, fair and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement will need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than in Israel."
(ii) It demands the right of expulsion of 400000 Jews living in the West Bank for the last 40 years - ethnic cleansing at its' cruellest and most primeval level , a gross abuse of international humanitarian law and as racist as you can get.
The Bush Pledge said of this pernicious proposal :
"In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities."
(iii) It demands the return of every single inch of the West Bank to Arab rule. No ifs and buts- every single inch.
This makes a mockery of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 which made it clear to the Arabs that more than a few inches of the West Bank would remain in Israel's hands.
Again the Bush Pledge was firm and uncompromising stating:
"As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338."
It is critical to understand that the Arab League Plan is not something that is open to bargaining of the kind one usually indulges in on a visit to an Arab bazaar where the end result usually involves the shopkeeper running down the street after the departing customer, frantically prepared at that stage to do any deal he can conclude.
The Arab leadership has made it crystal clear that its' plan is an "all or nothing proposal".
Israel and the Quartet must somehow think otherwise as both suddenly find something of value in an overture that has been ignored for the last five years.
What could possibly lead them to that conclusion is the real mystery.
What is also crystal clear is that the symphony orchestra will not play a note of this score and that it will be consigned to the dustbin of history like the many plans that have preceded it. Anyone buying tickets to this performance will be bitterly disappointed .
The creation of a second Arab State in former Palestine on the terms demanded by the Arab League is dead in the water.
There is only one piece left to be performed- the division of the West Bank between Jordan and Israel.
Who in the orchestra will have the guts to grab the baton, get on the podium and bring this program to a successful finale?