The latest attempt at solving the violent wrangling between the two main Palestinian factions has spectacularly collapsed. There's been a fierce gun battle at a hospital between Hamas and Fatah fighters, following some earlier firing at a government building while the Hamas Prime Minister was inside chairing a cabinet meeting.
This mess is partly to do with how the rest of the world wants to deal with the Palestinians. Hamas won last year's elections, but the US, and more importantly Israel, won't talk to them, because they're terrorists. The Palestinian president though is Mahmoud Abbas, a Fatah man and a moderate still supported by Washington. Even the Israelis say they don't mind getting round the table with him, although various petty bickering about tax revenues prevented talks scheduled for last week taking place.
Ultimately, Hamas will have to be accommodated into the peace process, much as the IRA was in Northern Ireland. But first the firing must stop, and the guns must be put away. For as long as Palestinians continue to tear themselves apart by fighting amongst themselves, there doesn't seem much hope of that happening. The best future, ironically, may lie in Hamas becoming even stronger, at least politically. If Hamas can secure the Palestinian Presidency and establish itself as the only voice of the Palestinians, the US, Israel and everyone else will have to listen. Until that time, the rest of the world may continue to delude themselves into believing Mr Abbas is strong enough to deliver a peace deal all Palestinians can support. And that split in the Palestinian ranks will grow ever wider.