Middle East

Your questions to Jeremy Bowen

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Media captionBenjamin Netanyahu tells Jeremy Bowen Israel won't deal with a Palestinian government backed by Hamas

After nine months of faltering negotiations peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have collapsed.

BBC Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen answered your questions in a live Twitter Q&A on Friday 25 April.

This is an edited version of the session.

Question from @MuellerNora: What are the prospects for a negotiated two-state solution?

Jeremy answers: At the moment non-existent. There's no agreement on what kind of independent state Palestinians would have.

Keith Hendry emails: Why do the Israelis find it so difficult to agree to a Palestinian state?

Jeremy replies: Israel says it has many concerns, inc. borders, refugees and security. On the Israeli right state idea still controversial.

Mark Haugaard from Galway, Ireland emails: If we take it that talks have collapsed what is plan B?

Jeremy answers: Depends who you ask. Both sides say they want peace & both say it won't happen until the other offers more concessions.

Question from @Anarchasm: Will Palestinians eventually have to drop right of return as a realistic demand?

Jeremy replies: They've discussed ways of retaining the principle while conceding that only a small number would be allowed back. But no deal.

Question from @K_Anckarstrom: Why is Israel allowed to have nuclear weapons without declaring them or signing NPT? International law?!

Jeremy answers: Because Israel keeps its programme undeclared and enjoys diplomatic protection from the US and other western powers.

Question from @tapaccos: Is there any "sort of" accepted peace that is accepted by both sides even if behind the scenes?

Jeremy replies: There's a status quo everyone is used to. It's often quiet, but it's not peace. It suits some on both sides.

Question from @dannighirl: Would Hamas likely win in Gaza if elections held now? If so does that indicate more support for war not peace?

Jeremy answers: Too early to say how elections would go. But vast majority of Palestinians in Gaza & elsewhere don't want more wars.

Question from @simoneyvan: What will it take to bring Israel and Palestine back to the negotiating table now?

Jeremy replies: Israel says end of pact with Hamas. The question though is what they'd discuss if and when they get there.

Question from @marcomartini: Do you think that the peace process will only resume if & when both the Palestinians and Israel have new leaders?

Jeremy answers: Whoever is the leader of either side a process without desire to make hard choices isn't going to work.

Question from @philipmoor: Why are the Israelis able to ignore all UN resolutions?

Jeremy replies: Israel doesn't ignore all resolutions but it's protected at the UN by the US veto, which has been used many times.

Question from @mjwright95: Is there much public support on either side for peace deals or are they as hawkish as the decision-makers?

Jeremy answers: Public on both sides are as sceptical as their leaders about the chances of a deal.

Question from @Aichadell: How do you forecast the impact of the new coalition Hamas-Fatah on peace process between Israel-Palestine?

Jeremy replies: Right now Israel has suspended talks. But US appetite for cajoling two divided parties is reaching its limits.

Question from @DTraynier: What would you say is the single biggest misconception the British public has about the conflict?

Jeremy answers: Dunno if it's the biggest but people should know that between crises this is a great place for a holiday.

Question from @jomah162: Is there still any chance of Kerry achieving substantive progress before the Obama administration leaves office?

Jeremy replies: Doubt it. After 20 plus years of failed talks time to ask whether it this model of negotiation will ever work.

Question from @shanemuk: Does this collapse represent what each side really wants? It maintains preaching to their own parochial choirs.

Jeremy answers: Both sides want peace and quiet. But their definitions of what that is and what it would take are way apart.

Question from @DTraynier: Why does the BBC routinely say Hamas "seized control" of Gaza in 06? They were elected Govt.

Jeremy replies: We don't. They won election in 06 but seized control from Fatah by force in 07.

Question from @Anarchasm tweets: How likely do you think the Fatah-Hamas talks are to mean any real change?

Jeremy answers: If the deal sticks Palestinians will feel stronger. But big differences between them, and making it real unity not easy.

John Duffy emails: Is it fair to say that Netanyahu will always find an excuse to avoid sitting down with the Palestinians?

Jeremy replies: No his govts have been in many negotiations. He says he's doing all he can for peace. Palestinians don't believe him.

Question from @rk70534: BBC seems to be afraid of publishing news that portray Israel in negative light. Why?

Jeremy answers: We have no problem showing any country in a negative light if justified. We are not pro Israeli or pro anyone else.

Question from @emilyhilton: Is it likely Israel will increase its military presence in the West Bank after Hamas-Fatah reconciliation?

Jeremy replies: No. Daily life goes on. But Israeli military can mobilise more forces very quickly if it wants to.

Question from @aaronadams17: With what conditions do you think peace will finally arrive?

Jeremy answers: I doubt they'll ever get the classic 2 state solution. But lots of long term problems piling up if they don't.

Question from @WeAreNIRV: Did you feel intimidated by Netanyahu during your interview?

Jeremy replies: Not at all! I've been in many scary places but his office wasn't one of them.

Question from @EstherJudah: What are the chances of Hamas/Fatah coming out and declaring recognition of Israel to relaunch peace?

Jeremy answers: Fatah recognised Israeli state years ago. Hamas says it wants a long term truce. Maybe absence of war is only thing possible.

Question from @JohnTomkins: What does Tony Blair do and is he of any use whatsoever?

Jeremy replies: As envoy he does econ stuff not political negotiation. Some projects effective. But Iraq legacy undermines his credibility.

Question from @Aichadell: What about a one-state solution with a federal system?

Jeremy answers: If no 2 state soln a single state is logical in next generation (or 2) who that benefits is another matter.

Question from @961a tweets: After your own experiences do you ever see a light? Just ain't going to happen is it?

Jeremy replies: 1st visit here was 1991. Lived in Jerusalem 1995-2000. Many visits since. I don't see things getting better. Hope I'm wrong.

For more tweets from Jeremy Bowen you can follow his Twitter account.