A Roadmap to Peace that Can Work

In the days after the so-called "Roadmap for Peace between Israel and Palestine" was unveiled, a new cycle of violence exploded between the warring parties. Palestinian suicide bombings and Israeli attacks against Palestinian leaders came with such speed and ferocity that determining who was striking first and who was counterattacking became impossible.

Of course, recriminations also began immediately, with Israelis and Palestinians each accusing the other of deliberately destroying the peace process. The truth, as usual, is more complicated, and understanding it helps us to comprehend what will be needed if real peace is to be achieved.

There are at least four sides to this conflict: moderate and extremist Israelis and moderate and extremist Palestinians. Complicated strategic interactions exist not only between Israelis and Palestinians, but also within the two sides.

The extremist positions are clear. Extremist Palestinians vow to fight until Israel--viewed as a colonial imposition on the Islamic world--is destroyed. Extremist Israelis vow to fight to hold the entire West Bank, pushing out the Palestinians if necessary. For them, Israel's pre-1967 borders, the entire city of Jerusalem, and the West Bank of the Jordan River is land given to the Jewish people by God. No land-for-peace deal will satisfy either side.