Aaron David Miller, a former high-ranking State Department official
and an expert on the Israel-Palestine conflict, is about ready to give up on
Middle-East peace. For
the cover story in Foreign Policy magazine
, he writes of experiences
on the eve of President Bush's failed 1991 peace meetings, "America
had used its power to make war, and now, perhaps, it could use that
power to make peace. I'd become a believer. I'm not anymore." Though a
key figure in "America's commitment to Arab-Israeli peacemaking over the
past 40 years," Miller says it's time to move on.
peace-process creed has endured so long because to a large degree it has
made sense and accorded with U.S. interests. The question is, does it
still? Does the old thinking about peacemaking apply to new realities?
Is the Arab-Israeli conflict still the core issue? And after two decades
of inflated hopes followed by violence and terror, and now by
directionless stagnation, can we still believe that negotiations will
deliver? Sadly, the answers to these questions seem to be all too
obvious these days.
The United States needs
to do what it can, including working with Israelis and Palestinians on
negotiating core final-status issues (particularly on borders, where the
are narrowest), helping Palestinians develop their institutions, getting
Israelis to assist by allowing Palestinians to breathe economically and
their authority, and keeping Gaza calm, even as it tries to relieve the
and sense of siege through economic assistance. But America should also
aware of what it cannot do, as much as what it can.
Miller has a lot of company. In the past year, some U.S. pundits have
argued that we should disengage
from the Israel-Palestine peace process
, that we should back away from Israel
that the U.S.-Israel alliance is fraying
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