On Israel-Palestine, No More of the Same

(New York Times) Yossi Alpher - George Mitchell recently concluded yet another unsuccessful bid to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. President Barack Obama acknowledged that he had underestimated the difficulties and had failed to move the parties forward. If Obama and Mitchell think that simply applying "more of the same" blandishments and minor pressures in the coming year will break the logjam, they are still underestimating the difficulties. Salam Fayyad's current state-building effort finds expression in radically improved West Bank security, economic and institutional capabilities. This is the first time since the Oslo process began that Palestinians are succeeding at state-building. Their "bottom-up" efforts even correspond with Prime Minister Netanyahu's "economic peace" policy. Mitchell might consider refocusing his efforts toward developing an integrated policy for stabilizing and pacifying Gaza, shepherding West Bank state-building toward an agreed new interim status even without direct talks, while facilitating an Israeli-Syrian process that advances moderation in Palestine as well. The writer is former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University.

2010-02-03 08:13:52

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