Friday, August 27, 2010

Hope in the Middle East

Martin Indyk, one of the senior U.S. diplomats in the Middle East during the Clinton administration, had an interesting column in the New York Times yesterday applauding the re-commencement of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.  He believes conditions may finally be ripe for a more comprehensive agreement because of the decreased level of violence in Israel, the pause in settlement activity, and popular support for a two state solution among both Israelis and Palestinians.  Indyk also points out that virtually all of the details of an ultimate peace agreement have already been hammered over years of past negotiations, and are well known to both sides.  All that has been lacking is the political will to put a deal in place.  On the other hand, see this more pessimistic analysis in the same paper a few days previously, which explains why the political will may very well be lacking.

Unfortunately, the loudest voices in the region see political benefit to maintaining a state of war.  Indeed, the maintenance of conflict justifies the existence of groups opposed to peace.  An argument can even be made for preserving the status quo as a means of placating elements opposed to a two state of solution.  To allow those elements to prevent formalization of a peace agreement would to be to give in to hate and fear.  Indyk quotes Shimon Peres's comment that “history is like a horse that gallops past your window and the true test of statesmanship is to jump from that window onto the horse.”  The time may have come to take a leap.

1 comment:

  1. << Unfortunately, the loudest voices in the region see political benefit to maintaining a state of war. Indeed, the maintenance of conflict justifies the existence of groups opposed to peace. >>

    This sounds like a description of our Congress

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