Kerry and Lieberman
Kerry, right, with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in Washington last week. Photo by AFP
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U.S. President Barak Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry should drop their Middle East peace efforts and "move on and devote their attention to other major international challenges like Ukraine," the New York Times wrote in an editorial on Tuesday.

Instead of continuing to promote peace negotiations, the paper wrote, the United States should "lay down the principles it believes must undergird a two-state solution, should Israelis and Palestinians ever decide to make peace."

According to the New York Times, those principles should include "a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza with borders based on the 1967 lines; mutually agreed upon land swaps that allow Israel to retain some settlements while compensating the Palestinians with land that is comparable in quantity and quality; and agreement that Jerusalem will be the capital of the two states."

The paper noted that the administration's effort to broker a deal in 2009 "ran into the obstinacy of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and resistance from the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas." Since then, it continued, "members of Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition government have tried to sabotage the talks."

Saying that Obama made the right decision to give peace a try, the paper stated that "it is apparent that the two sides are still unwilling to move on the core issues of the borders of a Palestinian state, the future of Jerusalem, the fate of Palestinian refugees and guarantees for Israel’s security."

The New York Times placed the blame for the collapse of the process squarely on Israel, attributing it to Israel's failure to release the fourth batch of Palestinian prisoners, as agreed, and its announcement of 700 new housing units in Jerusalem.

The Palestinians' response of applying to join 15 international organizations was legal, the paper said, noting that they "did not seek to join the International Criminal Court, a big fear of Israel’s."

The New York Times concluded by saying that "an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is morally just and essential for the security of both peoples." But achieving it will require determined and courageous leaders and populations on both sides that demand an end to the occupation. "Despite the commitment of the United States, there’s very little hope of that now."