Sept. 27, 2019
- The Middle East today is not the Middle East of 2000. In 2000, Iran was still weakened by its war with Iraq, ISIS did not even exist, the Iranians had not provided over 100,000 rockets to Hizbullah, Hamas was controlled in Gaza and not the ruling party there, and Turkey was an ally of Israel, not a partner of the Muslim Brotherhood and a place of refuge for Hamas figures.
- As a result, the security arrangements in any contemporary peace agreement would have to be different. The fear that a Palestinian state might become a failed state or dominated by Islamists is real.
- At the same time, the mood of Palestinians is so negative that there is little or no inclination to look for possible compromises and creative solutions.
- Having socialized their publics for so long to believe they should not have to make concessions, Palestinian leaders now fear any concession would produce a backlash.
- With succession to Mahmoud Abbas looming in the West Bank, all those around him are positioning themselves for the future – and they know that purity, not accommodation, is the political coin of the realm.
- Formal agreements with Israel now are seen as surrender and are not in the cards.
The writer, counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, served in senior national security positions during the Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Obama administrations.