Israel has announced the building of more than three-thousand new housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In response, the US has slammed the Israeli’s and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said, “We reiterate our longstanding opposition to settlements and East Jerusalem construction and announcements.” Of course it’s no coincidence the announcement comes on the heels of the U.N. granting the Palestinians non-member observer state status. The announcement is in retaliation for that action. The upgraded status means absolutely nothing other than symbolically and that’s why the US and Canada voted against the measure. At this point, regardless of the UN vote and today’s announcement, peace is getting more and more difficult to imagine. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be visiting with all of the concerned parties in an effort to get the two sides back to the negotiating table but no one should hold out too much hope there will be any progress. With the Israeli elections forthcoming and the recent violence in Gaza, Israeli’s are more concerned with security than negotiations. And if Abbas can’t negotiate for all of the Palestinian people, what’s the point of starting negotiations? Most importantly however, is the reality of the facts on the ground. Perhaps the Israeli’s would be willing to pull out of some of the settlements in the West Bank and re-drawing the borders to match the reality of where we are today. But, and I don’t say this lightly or without understanding, at this point, the Israeli’s will never agree to any comprehensive peace settlement, without a unified Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital. In fact, the Israeli’s were never going to agree to two separate Jerusalem’s following the war in 1948, despite what any so-called experts or outside peace negotiators might think. The Palestinians for their part, would never agree to that. So in essence, the Middle East peace price is dead, it’s always been dead; even with a few symbolic handshakes along the way. The status quo will continue indefinitely. In the end, neither side truly wants peace. It may be a pessimistic view but at least it’s the truth.