Israeli and Palestinian officials over the weekend again signaled how very far they are from reaching a compromise peace agreement, just days after Western leaders who apparently have their eyes tightly shut and their fingers firmly planted in their ears declared that the peace process was picking up pace.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority "have been engaged now in 13 meetings - serious meetings," US Secretary of State John Kerry stated last week. "All the core issues are on the table. And they have been meeting with increased intensity."
That assessment was echoed just days later by UN Under Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman, who optimistically announced that the Israeli-Palestinian peace process was "picking up pace."
But a Palestinian official who spoke to Israel's Channel 2 News over the weekend revealed that the two sides remain as far apart as ever in their respective positions.
The Palestinians are now insisting that any land swaps with Israel amount to a maximum of 1.9 percent of the so-called "West Bank," less than half the amount of land needed to incorporate all of the major Jewish settlement blocs inside Israel's recognized borders.
The Palestinians also continue to demand control over half of Jerusalem, freedom for all jailed Palestinian terrorists, and the right for millions of "Palestinian refugees" to take up residence inside the Jewish state.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the leaked demands at Sunday's cabinet meeting, explaining that Israel places great importance on the unity of Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty, and will never allow its own demographic destruction by opening its gates to the bulk of Palestinian refugees.
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