Mideast Roadmap Leads to Dead End

(Baltimore Sun) Robert Satloff - A U.S. diplomatic campaign to implement an Israeli-Palestinian "roadmap" toward peace risks sapping the political gains of victory in Iraq to advance a plan that has stunningly little chance of success. Given that Israelis and Palestinians had virtually no hand in its drafting, the roadmap represents the demise of the generation-old U.S. policy of opposing an imposed settlement (Europe's favorite solution). The most important lesson learned from the 1993 Oslo peace accords is the need to jettison deadlines and insist on full implementation of obligations before moving from one phase of peacemaking to another. The roadmap claims to be "performance-based," but it actually advocates a series of time-limited phases in which real implementation cannot possibly occur. The administration can take advantage of its postwar prestige to place the roadmap in the proper political context. The key is to shift responsibility for early success to those Arab capitals that clamor for the "peace process" - Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. Let their heads of state welcome Mr. Abbas, ensure that all Arab assistance money gets directed to the coffers of the PA's reformist finance minister, and put flesh on their commitment to Israel that peace with the Palestinians means peace with all Arabs. That requires immediate steps to end anti-Semitic incitement in state-run Arab media, restore pre-intifada trade and consular links, and begin direct, public engagement with Israelis, in Israel. As the Bush administration pursues vital Middle East interests in rebuilding Iraq, fighting terrorism, confronting Iranian nuclear advances, and promoting democratization, less direct U.S. activism now on behalf of the roadmap would actually make real peace more possible later.

2003-04-28 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive