May 19, 2016
For Middle East Peace, Look to Israel’s Arab Partners – John Hannah (Foreign Policy)
- It’s virtually impossible to imagine Israel and the Palestinians conducting fruitful negotiations under the current circumstances. Mistrust is at an all-time high. Gaps on the core issues are wide. Talks have been in deep freeze for over two years. For months on end, young Palestinians have targeted innocent Israelis in a wave of random stabbings.
- The Palestinian leadership seems weaker, more divided, and more paralyzed than ever, utterly incapable of taking on the compromises that even the most generous peace offer would require.
- If outside intervention to impose a deal rewards the Palestinians’ refusal to negotiate, what incentive would they have to return to the table, rather than merely sit back and wait for even greater international pressure to be brought on Israel?
- President Obama might more productively direct his energies during his waning months in office to the slightly more auspicious diplomatic ground of Israel’s thickening links with a handful of key Arab states.
- Unfortunately, Israeli officials complain that the U.S. remains far too focused on the Palestinian issue, while missing entirely the historic opportunity to advance relations between Israel and the Arab states. That’s the real peace process play that America should be pursuing.
The writer is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.