Several Palestinian leaders have sufficient strength to undermine each other. The question is whether any Palestinian leader is strong enough to deliver on a peace agreement. Hamas, meanwhile, seems content to retain control of Gaza and hold out for a return to Israel's 1948 borders — meaning no Israel at all. And surrounding Arab nations, which might be expected to lend a hand in the peace process, are either distracted by regional chaos or engulfed in it.
The result is the Middle East at its most frustrating. Majorities of Israelis and Palestinians support a two-state solution. The broad parameters of a deal have been clear since the Clinton administration (though the details are devil-filled). The American secretary of state is energetically on the job. But little is likely to change.
Michael Gerson's email address is email@example.com.