Arab Gestures from Bahrain or Qatar Aren't Enough

[AmbassadorBlog] Edward Walker - As a part of the package the Obama Administration is working out with Israel on the settlement freeze and return to negotiations, there is reportedly a promise of some gestures from the Arab world in the form of opening trade offices and providing overflight rights for Israeli commercial aircraft to link Israel to Asia. But such steps are not likely to change attitudes where they count the most - in Israel and Palestine. According to a poll by the Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace, 65% of Palestinians and 63% of Israelis believe it is impossible to reach a final status settlement these days. To imagine that peace is possible on this foundation of deep mutual antipathy and mistrust really stretches credulity. Peace is not going to come from clever formulas and untenable compromises. It will only come when the people who are most affected want it to come, and believe in it. That is not the case today. The writer has served as U.S. Ambassador to Egypt and Israel, and as Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East.

2009-09-18 08:00:00

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