To all but the terminally obtuse, the chances of a deal right now are about zero. Even if Obama could deliver a freeze on Israeli settlement building in the West Bank that Abbas has again demanded and Netanyahu has again refused, Miller says, the fact remains that the Palestinian national movement is divided and Israel "still doesn't know what price it's prepared to pay" for peace,
with this one:
To all but the interminably obtuse, the prospects of a conflict-ending solution between this Israeli government and this Palestinian Authority are slim to none. And the way to get there (if there is a way) isn’t through the confidence-building measures that the administration has pursued since the spring. Even if Obama were to succeed in delivering these (a partial settlements freeze and partial normalization by the Arabs toward Israel), it would likely have little effect on the galactic task at hand: negotiating an agreement on borders, security, Jerusalem and refugees between a divided Palestinian national movement (a Palestinian Humpty Dumpty, really) and an Israel that still doesn’t know what price it’s prepared to pay to end its conflict with the Palestinians.
The first paragraph was written by Reuters' Douglas Hamilton paraphrasing Aaron David Miller in Politico. (Hamilton doesn't link). The second is drawn from Miller's original piece. While the theme of Reuters' story is the pessimism surrounding the ostensible failure of early round discussions between Abbas, Obama and Netanyahu, notice that Hamilton chooses to omit the portion of the Miller quote which argues that even if it were possible for the parties in power to end the conflict (which Miller doubts), Obama's demand for a settlement freeze is not the way to Oz.
Miller's point is that the issue of Jewish settlements is actually inconsequential (we would say a red herring) in achieving a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Which, while Reuters has been elsewise pounding the table here, here, here, and here, is exactly what Netanyahu has been saying all along.