Postcard from Israel

(Korea JoongAng Daily) Stephan Haggard - It was believed that a solution to the Palestinian issue - through a revival of the Oslo process and reaching a two-state solution - would dampen conflict not only in Israel and Palestine but in the region more generally. It is doubtful that this view of the Middle East was ever right, but three tectonic changes in the last 10 years have fundamentally altered the face of the region. The most recent change was the Arab Spring, a series of uprisings that mostly challenged authoritarian Sunni regimes. These regimes are now concerned as much about their own populations. The second development is nothing less than the collapse of the Middle East state system that dates to the colonial era. Throughout these failed states, communities are turning back into themselves, seeking to provide local order. Underneath all these developments lies the great Sunni-Shia divide that separates Iran and Iraq and outposts or allies like Hizbullah and the Assad regime in Syria from the mostly conservative Sunni states. These epochal changes have had unanticipated effects on the Israel-Palestine conflict. Despite the apparent turmoil in the region, these developments have actually strengthened Israeli security as its neighbors are preoccupied with graver threats. Finally, regional developments have not only sidelined the Israel-Palestinian conflict, but in the process weakened the Palestine Liberation Organization's bargaining position as well. Like unification on the Korean Peninsula, it may be more realistic to see two states as a long-term solution, and put more effort into easing the burdens that are placed on the daily life of the Palestinians from Israeli control. Small measures - including economic ones - may not have the drama of ceremonies on the White House lawn, but are at least a start. The author is Krause Distinguished Professor at the Graduate School of the University of California in San Diego.

2016-07-20 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive