The missing links in the so-called US Diplomacy...
• The United States should spell out in detail its vision of an Arab-Israeli peace settlement, and declare that it was determined to resolve the conflict, not simply to manage it...
All this changed in the first year of this c
Now, with a new Presid
If History has ever taught us anything, it is that beliefs and ideas are non n
The majority of Israelis (and beyond them a substantial number of Jews from around the world) indeed strongly believe that Israel is the Promised Land giv
No serious attempt can therefore be made at resolving the protracted
(i) In a first phase, soil rights ought to supersede and replace blood rights. In other words, the land in
(ii) In a second phase, the issue of the status of
All this can be made possible if the United States recognizes that its duty as world leader is not merely towards this or that idea or dream, however l
• The US goal should be a comprehensive peace: That is to say, there should be coordinated movement on the Syrian, Lebanese and the Palestinian tracks. Any attempt to promote an Israeli-Syrian peace while relegating a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a later date was bound to fail. Equally, focusing on the Palestinian track to the neglect of Syria was a recipe for failure. Although simultaneous movement on the two tracks might prove difficult, it had to be recognized that neither could reach closure without the other.
• The United States should overcome Israel’s well-known reluctance to negotiate with the Lebanese, the Palestinians and Syria at the same time. It should use its considerable leverage to bring Israel to the negotiating table -- in much the same way as former US Secretary of State James Baker managed to compel a reluctant Yitzhak Shamir, then right-wing prime minister of Israel, to attend the 1991 Madrid peace conference.
• The United States should insist on an immediate and total freeze of Israeli settlement expansion on the occupied West Bank. Without such a freeze, any Palestinian-Israeli negotiations would be futile.
• The United States -- together with the European Union, Russia and the UN -- should play an active role in talks on both tracks. Turkey might also play a useful role. These outside parties, with the US in the lead role, should stimulate negotiations, arbitrate between the parties, monitor implementation of agreements reached, and be ready to provide security guarantees if these are needed. The Palestinians and Syria should not be left to face Israel alone, since the imbalance of power is simply too great for a satisfactory conclusion to be reached.
• The United States should rein in Israeli militarism, rather than unleash it, as the Bush administration had done -- against Lebanon in 2006, against Syria’s alleged nuclear facility in 2007, and most recently against Gaza this past December and January. In particular, Washington should firmly prohibit any Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. What is the background to this last demand?
The destruction of Iraq by the United States has overturned the regional balance of power to Iran’s advantage. Iran has emerged as a regional rival to both Israel and the United States. Israel, in particular -- in spite of its own vastly superior nuclear capability -- regularly depicts Iran’s nuclear programme as an “existential threat,” which must be eliminated by force, if necessary.
Most of Iran’s Arab neighbors are undoubtedly concerned at the rise of Iran. A key debate in the Arab world today -- in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Lebanon, Egypt -- is how to contain and accommodate Iran’s rising influence. But any such worries are dwarfed by the fear of an Israeli strike against Iran, which could be catastrophic for the Arab Gulf states, as they would find themselves in the line of fire. Indeed, an Israeli-Iranian military clash could trigger a regional war and be devastating for Arab, American and Israeli interests.
• The Arabs dream of a nuclear free zone in the Middle East -- an improbable outcome in view of Israel’s determination to be the region’s sole nuclear power. But short of general nuclear disarmament, the Arabs would like the United States to embrace the goal of a regional balance of power, rather than guaranteeing Israel’s military edge over any Arab combination. The argument is that a balance of power keeps the peace, whereas an imbalance causes war, since the stronger power will always seek to impose its will by force on its weaker adversaries -- as the Gaza war has demonstrated only too clearly.