Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered a crushing rebuke to the perennial optimists roused to hopes of imminent peace by the visit to the Middle East last week of Donald Trump's adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. At an event on Monday in the West Bank celebrating the half-centenary of Israeli occupation, Mr Netanyahu effectively admitted that US efforts to revive the peace process would prove another charade.
There would be no dismantling of the settlements or eviction of their 600,000 inhabitants – the minimum requirement for a barely feasible Palestinian state. "We are here to stay forever," Mr Netanyahu reassured his settler audience. "We will deepen our roots, build, strengthen and settle."
So where is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict heading if the two-state solution is dead? The answer: back to its origins. That will entail another desperate numbers battle against the Palestinians – with Israel preparing to create new categories of "Jews" so they can be recruited to the fray.