Palestinians Need Tough Talk from Europe

(New York Times) David Makovsky - The quartet of Middle East peacemakers is no longer a diplomatic force, although its special envoy, former Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, has been involved in favorable economic and governance actions supporting the Palestinians. The European Union, traditional patron of the Palestinians, needs to tell them what they need to hear, that EU patience with the Palestinians has its limits. It's hard for Europeans to argue that the Palestinians have exhausted negotiations, given that Abbas has agreed to only three weeks of talks in the last four years, and that an offer in September 2008 by Israel's then-prime minister, Ehud Olmert, never received a reply. The only way to achieve Palestinian statehood is through direct, unconditional talks with Israel. Israel is not wrong to insist on strict security arrangements. Rockets smuggled into Gaza have been repeatedly and indiscriminately fired on Israeli cities. UN Security Council Resolution 1701 calling for an arms embargo on Hizbullah after the 2006 Lebanon war was never implemented. Moreover, international peacekeepers cannot be the sole basis of security - as shown by Austria's recent decision to pull out of the UN Disengagement Observer Force interposed between Syrian and Israeli forces. The writer is a senior fellow and director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

2013-06-17 00:00:00

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