The lasting peace the United States envisaged for Israelis and Palestinians when it launched its road-map strategy three months ago seemed only a remote possibility. Centuries of Arab and Jewish hatred were unlikely to be erased by a document full of ideals but short on specifics. Yet the proposal, launched by US President George W. Bush and the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas, was viewed by many in the region as a spark of hope. With the road map teetering on the brink of a violence-filled chasm, Mr Bush must devote his energies to rescuing the plan. The US is as much to blame as Israelis and Palestinians for the regrettable situation. All vowed on June 4 to do their utmost to move towards the common goal of creation of a Palestinian state. On paper, that seemed achievable, but in reality, the necessary unity and willingness for such an eventuality did not exist. Mr Bush gave his administration the task of making the dream a reality. But its focus was lost amid the quagmire of instability in Iraq and domestic issues in the US ahead of the campaign for next year's presidential election. The essence of the road map was sidelining Palestinian Authority president Yasser Arafat in favour of the preferred negotiator for peace, Mr Abbas. Under US pressure, he was appointed prime minister but was unable to command the respect from Palestinians such a role required. Mr Abbas' resignation on Saturday was unsurprising, given his inability to prevent militant Palestinian groups from carrying out suicide bombings in Israel, as demanded by the road map. Retaliatory attacks by Israel's army, especially against the group Hamas, have put the region on the brink of all-out war. Just as damaging as Palestinian disunity was Israel's reluctance to implement the agreement. Efforts to dismantle settlements in the occupied territories were inadequate, while its insistence on constructing a seven-metre-high security fence encroached on promised land and Palestinian ambitions. The road map rested on the premise that Israelis and Palestinians wanted peace and what was lacking was the choreography to get them there. With the goal set but no clear means laid out to resolve issues such as borders, the return of displaced Palestinians and the status of Jerusalem and holy sites in the city, the process would always be difficult. Israelis want peace, but not all Palestinians have made up their minds. Mr Abbas wants it, but members of Hamas and other militant Arab groups do not, instead insisting that Israel must be destroyed. There can be no road map while such divergent opinions exist. All sides must work towards the same goal and it is up to the US to make that happen.