To Get an Israeli-Palestinian Agreement, U.S. Needs to Re-engage in the Mideast

(Foreign Policy) Michael Singh - For a Palestinian state to succeed, it will need intimate commercial and economic links - not just the hand-to-mouth aid received today - with neighbors. But today the neighborhood is more a source of distraction than support for the Israelis and Palestinians. Abbas must worry about the regional resurgence of political Islam, of which his rival, Hamas, is the local manifestation. Allies that were once staunchly supportive, such as Turkey and Qatar, have recently been more supportive of Abbas' Islamist rivals, while other former stalwarts like Egypt and Jordan are consumed with internal issues. Another major challenge is the position of the U.S. in the region. The U.S. has long been looked toward as a guarantor of whatever arrangements the peace process produced and of Israel's security as it gives up hard-won territory. The U.S. role as guarantor can no longer be easily assumed. The widespread perception in the Middle East is that the U.S. is experiencing "Mideast fatigue" in the wake of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and would prefer to disengage. This inevitably will reduce the value and credibility of U.S. security assurances to both the Israelis and the Palestinians. If the U.S. wants a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians, it must focus on everything but the so-called "core issues" that will be at the heart of the negotiations and must be worked out by the parties who know them well. Washington should run interference for the two parties - thwarting the efforts of spoilers to derail the process, lining up support from regional and international partners whose priorities are elsewhere, bolstering Netanyahu and Abbas to the extent possible, and, in so doing, providing space to the Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate. The writer is managing director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

2013-08-14 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive