Exiting the Middle East Labyrinth

BERLIN – Two years have passed since Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. Much to his credit – and in contrast to his immediate predecessor – Obama tried, from his first day in office, to work towards a resolution of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

Two years on, are good intentions the best that Obama’s new policy has to offer? After all, nothing of value has in fact resulted from them. Even worse, given that Obama’s effort to enforce a permanent moratorium on new settlement construction in the West Bank has failed, is that direct negotiations between the conflicting parties have run aground.

Good intentions count for little in life – and for less in politics. What matters, first and foremost, are results.

President George W. Bush believed that he needed to take account of only one half of America’s dual role in the Middle East, namely the alliance with Israel. He had no time for the second US role, that of pivotal peace mediator between Israelis and Palestinians, during his entire eight-year presidency. All his initiatives were intended only to pacify the international public. We all know where that led.