United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have been invited to talks in Washington this September after both parties agreed to restart the peace talks that broke down more than a year and a half ago.
That's good news, surely? Could it be that and end to suffering is finally in sight for the millions of people who live in the West Bank, in Gaza and in those Israeli areas that daily face the Qassam rockets aimed indiscriminately at homes, shops, schools and hospitals? Let's all hope so.
Will the new round of peace negotiations be a success? Does Hillary even care? After all, just getting Israel and the PA to start talking again is seriously good PR for her and her boss as the Democrat's popularity continues on its downward spiral now that the USA has realised Obama isn't actually a god after all.
However, there would appear to be a slight problem. Take a look at the PA's human rights records. They're an organisation that regularly denies the freedom of speech of those they claim to speak for, thinks nothing of contravening the freedom of the press when news agencies see fit to publish stories they don't want people knowing about, promotes religious intolerance, tortures political dissidents and carries out extrajudicial executions, does nothing to prevent honour killings and may even have created infrastructure promoting them, takes little action to prevent or reduce violence towards women, leading Human Rights Watch to accuse them of "failing to act diligently to prevent, investigate, and punish violence against women, putting women's health and lives in jeopardy. Ultimately, the PA is denying victims their rights under international human rights law to non-discrimination and an effective judicial remedy for abuse", oppresses homosexuals and, according to journalist Khaled Abu Toameh, do everything within their power to prevent the international community from finding out about their "massive abuse of human rights and intimidation of journalists that its security forces are practicing almost on a daily basis in the West Bank."
Democratic nations, such as Israel and the USA, cannot conduct any sort of meaningful peace talks with an organisation like the PA because it is obvious that the PA are not working towards the best interests of the Palestinian people. They are nothing more than an oppressive and inhumane regime that utilises fear and violence to keep the will of the Palestinian people suppressed.
As Khaled Abu Toameh continues, "The Palestinians do not need a dictatorship that harasses and terrorizes journalists, and that is responsible for the death of detainees in its prisons. In the Arab world we already have enough dictatorships.
The Palestinians do not need additional security forces, militias and armed gangs. In fact, there are too many of them, both in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip."
One day, there will be peace in Israel and Palestine. The majority of the people, like people everywhere, simply want to live their lives without fear, violence and bloodshed and with enough food to feed themselves and their children. One day, the Palestinian people will realise that it's the PA who are preventing them from achieving these aims and when that happens, it'll only be a matter of time before they rise against the PA and destroy them. Perhaps they will then establish a democratic government with whom those nations that value human rights and freedoms can negotiate.