So, President Obama has endorsed the Palestinians’ demand for their future state to be based on the borders that existed before the 1967 Middle East war. Will this move us any closer to a negotiated agreement? Unfortunately, I fear not.

As I’ve said before, all efforts regarding Israel and Palestine should be aimed at getting both parties in a state of mind where they are willing to do a deal. Until that point, debates about whether to do a deal based on pre-1967 borders or any other proposed compromise are irrelevant. I don’t know why the US can’t see this, and insist on orchestrating processes and proposals which won’t get anywhere. Israeli’s and Palestinians have to get to a point where they feel that peace is better than war.

So, all efforts should go in to demonstrating that the benefits of peace for them and their children outweigh the benefits of being at war. Those benefits include stability, less violence, economic prosperity, educational progress and acclaim for sorting out a historic deal. What would stop the US funding economic co-operation between Israeli’s and Palestinians for example? As the history of the EU shows, peace can more easily be based on the prospect of economic progress than territorial deals.

In 1918 the Versailles treaty tried to impose territorial and other restrictions on Germany and within 20 years the world was at war again. In 1948 the first step in setting up the EU was a trade agreement – a European coal and steel deal. The EU has prospered based on its trade ever since and the desire to preserve that benefit has encouraged the Western European nations to maintain peace among themselves for nearly 70 years – an unprecedented period. There will not be peace in the region till everyone is in agreement that they want peace. The US agenda needs to recognise that and help bring about this precondition for negotiations to start meaningfully.