Waiting for Uncle Sam

editor Saturday 25 November 2017 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email Printer friendly

By Daniel C. Kurtzer.. For decades, the United States has billed itself as an “honest broker” in the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks. Ten principles for renewing confidence in U.S. leadership, and the Arab-Israeli peace process. Is it still reasonable to believe that a peace settlement, brokered by the United States, is possible between Israel and the Palestinians? The historical record and conventional contemporary analysis would argue “no.” Even a cursory examination of the history of the conflict and the U.S.-led conflict resolution process would suggest that all three parties today lack the leadership, will, and determination to take the risks and offer the necessary compromise concessions that might make a deal possible.

Indeed, history is replete with examples of failed plans, processes, and initiatives. In the early 1990s, there was a palpable sense that a breakthrough was possible. I recall Secretary of State James Baker telling the U.S. delegation—myself among them—on the way home from the Madrid Peace Conference that, after the 1992 U.S. presidential elections, he expected to intensify negotiations that he was sure would culminate in peace treaties. The United States and Russia had convened the Madrid conference that paved the way for bilateral negotiations between Israel and each of its neighbours, and a parallel process of multilateral talks on transnational issues that had been neglected too long, such as economic development, the environment, water, and even contentious issues such as arms control, regional security, and refugees. Arabs and Israelis met routinely and expanded the circle of peacemaking in a series of economic summits that brought together the public and private sectors. Read the full story.

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