Rarely has there been a time when less attention has been paid to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than today. Given the threat from the Islamic State, the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria, proxy conflicts between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and Egypt’s struggles with radical Islamists, it is hard to find anyone in Washington or the Arab capitals who is thinking about the Israelis and Palestinians. But the problem is not going away.
For the past five months, there have been more than 100 individual Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israelis. As the risk of escalation grows, both sides are becoming even more doubtful that there will ever be peace.… Seguir leyendo »
The final communiqué of the G-8 summit meeting next week in Northern Ireland will invariably mention Middle East peace, perhaps supporting Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to revive peace negotiations. In any case, any statement will be promptly forgotten when the summit ends. Nevertheless, Europe can help Kerry.
It’s worth remembering that just before the G-8 meeting two years ago, President Obama delivered a landmark speech on the Middle East, one that included an important expression of tough love. Here was a president of the United States, the traditional patron of Israel, saying that the baseline for territorial negotiations should be land exchanges based on the boundaries that existed before the 1967 war — a call that was echoed earlier this year by an Arab League delegation.… Seguir leyendo »
As the conflict in Syria rivets international attention, Iran’s nuclear program continues apace. Unfortunately, while the Iranians install the next generation of centrifuges — machines that can produce enriched uranium three to four times faster than before — the “P5+1” negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program have ground once again to a halt.
While economic pressures impose a cost on Iran, so far they have failed to alter its nuclear program. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei may acknowledge that sanctions are “brutal,” but he also seems to feel that Iran has endured worse. In light of President Obama’s objective of preventing the Iranians from acquiring nuclear weapons, something has to give.… Seguir leyendo »
The White House announcement that President Obama will not bring a peace initiative on his upcoming trip to Israel and the West Bank reinforces the sense that he sees the visit as an opportunity to reset ties with both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples at the start of his second term.
There is, of course, value in bolstering public support for intergovernmental relations. It is hard to conceive of any sort of breakthrough between Israeli and Palestinian leaders so long as the public on both sides are so skeptical of progress.
Yet if the White House focuses on people, and not just on governments, and points to significant statements that leaders on both sides have made, the result could be real progress.… Seguir leyendo »
The baseline figure for the total Gaza/West Bank area is 6,195 square kilometers (about 2,392 square miles), which is the relevant area won by Israel in the 1967 war. It includes the northwest portion of the Dead Sea, one-half of No Man’s Land, and all of East Jerusalem, except Mount Scopus.
Although negotiators understand the importance of ensuring territorial contiguity for a future Palestinian state—a key principle in determining the swaps suggested here — these maps do not currently include a proposal for contiguity between Gaza and the West Bank. However, the parties have discussed a variety of options for such a corridor, including sunken roads and tunnels.… Seguir leyendo »
Just a few weeks ago, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s upcoming visit to Washington had the makings of a confrontation amid U.S. dissatisfaction over peace policy. Then Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas signed a power-sharing arrangement with Hamas. Although Washington cannot easily demand that Netanyahu make major concessions on peace as Abbas joins forces with a group sworn to Israel’s destruction, the Israeli prime minister should still arrive this week with a plan for renewed peace talks.
Concerns about the Palestinian unity government are understandable. The Abbas-Hamas deal jeopardizes important gains in the West Bank of the past four years: the exemplary economic stewardship of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who oversaw 9 percent annual growth at a time of global economic recession; and the security cooperation between Israel and the PA, which has led to an unprecedented calm after several years of bloody violence.… Seguir leyendo »
The announcement Friday that Middle East peace talks would be launched Sept. 2 was not exactly met with an outpouring of enthusiasm. Yet progress on security and other issues suggests there is reason to believe peace talks can produce results.
There has been a surge in cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) ever since Hamas ousted security officials and the mainstream Fatah Party from Gaza more than three years ago. I recently spent five weeks in the region, where I met with more than four dozen Israeli and Palestinian officials, including President Mahmoud Abbas. Cooperation is increasingly evident in several areas.… Seguir leyendo »
The Post asked former officials and policy experts whether there is a divide between the Obama administration and the Jewish state. Below are responses from Elliott Abrams, David Makovsky, Aaron David Miller, Danielle Pletka, and Hussein Agha and Robert Malley.
The current friction in U.S.-Israel relations has one source: the mishandling of those relations by the Obama administration. Poll data show that Israel is as popular as ever among Americans. Strategically we face the same enemies — such as terrorism and the Iranian regime — a fact that is not lost on Americans who know we have one single reliable, democratic ally in the Middle East.… Seguir leyendo »