The Current Paradigm about Israel and Its Neighbors Is Increasingly at Odds with Reality

(Project Syndicate) Richard N. Haass - It is time for a paradigm shift in how we think about the Middle East because the current paradigm between Israel and its neighbors that has prevailed for more than a half-century is increasingly at odds with reality. After the June 1967 Six-Day War, the "normal" diplomatic model (enshrined in UN Security Council Resolution 242) has assumed that Israel would trade territory in exchange for security and peace. Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt, allowing the two countries to sign a peace treaty that has endured to this day. But it is no longer possible to imagine peace talks, much less agreements, between Syrian President Assad's government and that of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Diplomatic progress between Israel and the Palestinians is equally difficult to imagine. Negotiations came close several times to establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel, but at the last minute, Palestinian leaders balked. This was a historic error. What was on offer in the past is no longer. Much of the world has grown weary of the conflict. Quite a few Arab governments, worried about Iran or internal threats more than Israel, are prepared to work with Israel quietly, and in some cases openly. The writer, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, previously served as Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department (2001-2003).

2019-04-19 00:00:00

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