Finding a way: Israel’s separation barrier in the West Bank, February 2009.

On March 17, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won reelection, thanks in part to a desperate last-minute pledge to his right-wing base that the Palestinians would never get a state so long as he was in power. After the election, he tried to walk his comments back, but Palestinian observers weren’t buying it. As one person close to the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas put it, Netanyahu’s reelection marked the end of an era, “the final closing of the window of opportunity for a negotiated solution.” The insider continued: “Two years ago, [U.S. Secretary of State] John Kerry told the U.S. Congress that in a matter of a year and a half, or two years at most, the window will close. He was right. It’s over.”

Compounding the Palestinians’ frustration was the recognition that the outcome of the election didn’t even matter much: even if Netanyahu

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