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If we are to expect anything at all from the dying months of George W Bush’s lamest of lame duck presidencies, look to Israel/Palestine. Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, has been spending an increasing amount of time in the region, and Bush, the first president to explicitly endorse the goal of an independent Palestinian state, may feel that his middle eastern legacy could do with some bucking up.

Is a deal likely? Two-state-solution optimists often point to the fact that in opinion polls, a large majority of Israelis say they support the idea of an independent Palestinian state. And…

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