It must be good news that negotiations have resumed between Palestine and Israel in Washington but most would remain very sceptical over the likelihood of this initiative achieving an agreed solution. Two of the main obstacles to agreement are the illegal settlements in the West Bank and the problem of Palestinian refugees. When I was in Palestine last year I saw at first hand the smart new settlement buildings on the one hand and the abject poverty in the refugee camps on the other. As well as the obvious overt oppression of the Palestinian people, I learned of the more subtle acts of oppression – the obstacles the Israeli Government is prepared to put in the way of NGOs and international institutions to prevent them delivering their relief and development programmes on the ground. The latest example of this is the Israeli Government decision to bar European aid staff from entering Gaza as part of Israeli measures in the wake of new EU guidelines barring cooperation with settlements.