As discussions over the future of Israel and Palestine resumes in Brussels this weekend, attention has once again turned towards the role of the Quartet on the Middle East, the collectivity of nations and international and supranational bodies involved in mediating the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Palestinian authorities are bidding to gain international recognition of Statehood at the United Nations in New York. The US favours direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine and has already expressed serious reservations with Secretary of State Clinton saying "the route [to peace] lies in Jerusalem and Ramallah not in New York".
There are plenty of grounds for a paradoxical 'pessoptimism' about developments in the Middle East and North Africa, writes Harry Hagopian. The huge Arab struggles for dignity and freedom are vital but will take a long time. History in Europe and the USA should surely teach us that revolutions are never made in one swoop, but take time and cause pain.
There are serious questions to be asked about the unity pact between the two Palestinian factions of Fatah and Hamas, says Harry Hagopian. But meanwhile the Israeli prime minister remains dwarfed by the real significance of the Arab Spring, and a huge block to progress towards a just peace for all. He is still a tactician at best, with precious little strategic foresight.