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Wednesday, May 14, 2014


From a Haaretz op-ed about the failure of the 'peace process.'
Clearly it is impossible to arrive at any meaningful agreement without an Israeli withdrawal close to the 1968 borders and a special arrangement as regards Jerusalem. But a realpolitik-based assessment leads to the conclusion that the Palestinians have nothing to offer that would justify such radical Israeli concessions. Furthermore, contradictory historical narratives, different notions of “justice,” and conflicting values cannot provide a basis for agreements in the absence of realpolitik quid pro quos.
It is necessary to take into account, among other things, the fact that the Palestinians do not constitute a strategic danger to Israel; that a peace agreement with them by itself is unsustainable within an all-encompassing regional conflict; and that the notion that an Israeli agreement with the Palestinians will lead to a broad Middle East peace settlement does not hold water.
For instance, let us assume that the Palestinians recognize Israel as “the state of the Jewish people.” Such a declaration has the historic weight of a feather in comparison to the depth of the Arab Islamic-Israeli Jewish conflict. On the other hand, Israeli embassies in Riyadh and Tehran could achieve the critical mass necessary for ending the conflict as a whole, in stages. And, however unrealistic such an image is in terms of the narrow-mindedness that characterizes the status quo – such embassies are within the realm of the possible in a broad Middle East agreement.
Therefore, the United States should have engaged in creative thinking vis-a-vis the conflict, uninhibited by accepted views, before the secretary of state wasted his time and diminished the credibility of his country by engaging in doomed shuttle diplomacy. And along with the secretary, a special representative with a creative, “open mind” should have been appointed, who is not captive to obsolete paradigms because of years of acting on their basis. (This applies also to the Israelis handling the negotiations).
Coping with the strong momentum of the conflict demands that a new paradigm – such as proceeding toward a comprehensive Middle East agreement, of which establishment of a Palestinian state in one component.
Also essential is exercise of significant power. The president of the United States had to decide if he personally, with the backing of his powerful country, should be committed to advancing a phased, comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace, by presenting a new and grand design, together with many positive and negative incentives, or give priority to other issues, such as the geostrategic situation of Asia. Leaving the burden of the Palestinian issue mainly to a secretary of states assures failure in advance.
The special relations that exist with the United States are essential for the security of Israel. Therefore, we should be very worried by the inadequacies of grand American strategic thinking, as expressed, among other things, by John Kerry's mission.

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At 4:16 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

That first sentence is ridiculous. Why is any agreement unrealistic without an Israeli withdrawal close to the lines of '49 + far-reaching concessions in J'lem? These ideas are Made in Israel. The 'Palestinians' have very different ideas about their requirements (those among them who have given up the dream of destroying Israel), they want all of East J'lem for example, but they don't actually need any of EJ for their state to be viable. And their claim to J'lem is like nothing compared to our claim.

At 4:20 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Also, the author is forgetting that President Obama was indeed very involved in the 'peace process' during his first term, when his initial strategy did indeed involve pressuring the Arab states to recognize Israel (and Kerry did get them to change the Saudi Plan to include land swaps). The Kerry mission was stupid, but let's not pretend that there was a better alternative or that Obama or Kerry bungled this.

On the other hand, his criticism of the choice of Indyk as mediator definitely has its merits.


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