The US position has always been that Israelis and Palestinians have to want peace more than the third parties do. Well, the people in the region do want it, they just don’t know how to do it and have lost faith that it is even possible.
President Obama will have no choice but to advance the negotiations by putting the US’s own vision of peace with a detailed plan on the table.
For Israelis, the key is that the right of return will be to the Palestinian state and not to Israel. Some of the refugees could be resettled in areas that will be part of the territorial exchange in lands that were previously under Israeli sovereignty. There is a fundamental contradiction between the “two-states for two peoples” solution and the right of return to Israel. Acceptance of this principle removes the urgency of the Palestinian declaration that Israel is the State of the Jewish people (which in any event already appears in the Palestinian Declaration of Independence from November 1988).
Israeli acknowledgment of its part of the responsibility for the creation of the refugee problem and for the suffering of the refugees is the key to Palestinian acceptance of the right of return to a future Palestinian state. It would be helpful if a group of experts – Israeli, Palestinian and international – worked on designing the language that Israel could adopt to do this.