Palestinian Internal Divisions Make Peace Agreement Impossible for Now

[Jerusalem Post] Aaron David Miller - A conflict-ending agreement between Israelis and Palestinians may no longer be possible. Varying kinds of accommodations, cease fires, informal cooperation and temporary arrangements may still be possible. But the current situation on the ground between Israelis and Palestinians makes it impossible for leaders to reach an agreement. The divisions between Hamas (itself divided) and Fatah (even more divided) are now geographic, political and hard to bridge. Until the Palestinian national movement finds a way to impose a monopoly over the forces of violence in Palestinian society, it cannot move to statehood. The hallmark of any state's credibility is its control over all the guns. What Palestinian leader can claim to speak for all Palestinians or negotiate an agreement against the backdrop of a separate entity (Gaza) which controls 1.3 million Palestinians, possesses a different view of governance and nation-building and often attacks its neighbor? What Israeli prime minister could ever make concessions to a Palestinian leader who doesn't control all of the guns? Only by restoring unity to the Palestinian house will a conflict-ending agreement be possible. I would respectfully suggest to President-elect Obama, in my capacity as an American who doesn't want to see America fail again, that he recognize there's no deal in this negotiation now. Manage it as best you can: help support an Israeli-Hamas ceasefire, train PA security forces, pour economic aid into the West Bank and Gaza, even nurture Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on the big issues, but don't think you can solve it; you can't. The writer, a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, worked as an advisor on the Middle East for six secretaries of state.

2008-11-24 01:00:00

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