Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks Are Suspended. So What?

(Wall Street Journal) Elliott Abrams - Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations were suspended on Sunday, perhaps briefly and perhaps for months. Yet war hasn't broken out, nor will it. Peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) have been an on-again, off-again affair since they began with the Oslo Accords in 1993. After Arafat's death in November 2004, negotiations between Israel and the PLO were almost continuous - until 2009. They broke down when the Obama administration made settlement construction the central issue. Abbas, who heads the PLO, could not allow President Obama to take a harder line than his own, so he echoed the demand. Under President Bush, an arrangement had been reached whereby the Israelis would build inside settlements but not expand them physically. The Obama administration junked that deal. The good news is that the West Bank's economy will grow 8% this year. Regarding security, cooperation between Israeli and PA forces has never been better. Most of this good news came, of course, during 18 months when there were no peace negotiations at all. Both sides want negotiations and sooner or later will find their way back to them. But Israelis and Palestinians could more easily find compromises if American officials would stop mentioning a freeze in every speech. The writer, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, handled Middle East affairs at the National Security Council from 2001 to 2009.

2010-09-29 09:07:10

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive