The Palestinians today can be divided up into two main political groups: Fatah and Hamas. Fatah, under President Mahmoud Abbas, controls the west bank, while Hamas, run by Khaled Mashaal, runs the Gaza strip. Israel cannot negotiate with both sides, as both have extremely different fundamental ideologies. So who does Israel negotiate with than?
We can forget about negotiating with Hamas, a worldwide recognized terrorist organization who's stated they have no interest in peace with Israel. In addition to this, Hamas has written in its charter and repeats until this very day that it's sworn to the destruction of Israel. Israel made the decision to pull out of the Gaza Strip in 2005 as a diplomatic gesture to the Palestinians during the peace process. Instead of furthering the peace process, however, Gazans decided to elect Hamas in the 2006 Gaza elections. Rather than pursuing peace with Israel and turning Gaza into a vibrant democracy, Hamas turned the entire strip into one massive terrorist training and launch facility from which over eleven thousand rockets have been fired and countless cross-border terrorist attacks launched through its extensive network of underground tunnels into Israel. In an attempt to make themselves appear as the victim, Hamas fires and stores these rockets in hospitals and schools hoping that that Israeli airstrikes targeting these launchers will kill civilians in the process; a tragedy which Israel makes every attempt to avoid.
So Israel certainly can't get anywhere with Hamas, but what about Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas? Surely a man whose PhD dissertation denies the holocaust can be a legitimate peace partner, right?
Mahmoud Abbas today has demonstrated that he has absolutely ZERO interest in peace with Israel through one very simple, yet massive action; he made the conscious decision to make Hamas his primary political partner. Even if Abbas himself denounces violence, the mere existence of a unity pact with a Hamas sends a clear message to Israel that he would rather work with a terrorist organization than Israel. This, along with his continuous incitement of Palestinian rioters, go a great distance in showing his true colors in the peace process.
Even if Abbas were to renounce his holocaust denial, ends his unity deal with Hamas, and recognize Israel's right to exist, his signature on any peace agreement with Israel would mean very little from a legal standpoint. Mahmoud Abbas was elected Palestinian president in 2005, which means, at least according to the PLO's constitution, his presidential term has expired ages ago.
Israel has always wanted nothing more than to live in peace with the Palestinians, and has tried countless times since its existence to end the conflict with the Palestinians. Unfortunately, the Palestinians have proven that they aren't interested in peace with Israel. Until the Palestinians end their pledge for violence against Israel and recognize Israel's right to exist as a free and sovereign nation, there simply cannot be any progress in the peace process for the foreseeable future, no matter if the left or the right control the Israeli government.