An Arab-Israeli peace requires a comprehensive approach, because the problems at stake are intertwined. Not only are key issues such as Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees insoluble without an all-Arab consensus, but any country that is left out of the peace process is bound to persist in its role as a revolutionary power bent on regional destabilization.
Admittedly, Israeli governments have never liked the idea of negotiating peace with all enemies simultaneously, if only because the political costs of the required concessions would be unbearable. The Israeli strategy of peacemaking therefore oscillates between two visions: while the Israeli left gives priority to the Palestinian problem, the Israeli right prefers pursuing a settlement with the big Arab powers.
The current Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and the American veto on negotiations with Syria indicate that we have returned to the “Palestine first” concept. But the prospects of success are desperately dim. With the Americans still refraining from engaging in a Clinton-like level of committed mediation, the parties look to be incapable of meeting each other’s minimal requirements for a settlement.
We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.
To continue reading, subscribe now.
Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.
Already have an account or want to create one? Log in