In a piece in the January-February issue of The National Interest, Daniel Kurtzer writes of "Reviving the Peace Process" and explains that

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...The only serious option, therefore, for a United States that sees itself as a leading world power is to act like a world power and lead. In the peace process, this would mean unveiling a comprehensive strategy now—right now, when everyone else is drifting further and further apart. Such a strategy should encompass at least four elements: First, we should develop a set of parameters on all the key issues which would then become the starting point and terms of reference for negotiations. These parameters should be developed on the basis of where the two sides left off negotiations in 2008...

And therein lies the rub.

The Arabs have always expected, and, unfortunately for Israel, have always received support from those "neutral" friends of Israel, those who are "evenhanded" or, perhaps, should not be so "evenhanded", which includes Kurtzer, former United States ambassador to Egypt and Israel and now, rewarded for his actions and words which I consider less than pro-Israel, the S. Daniel Abraham Professor in Middle Eastern Policy Studies at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, that the next stage of negotiations will always start where the two sides left off.

But that is a wrong approach.

If the negotiations did not succeed from were they were "left off", then that point of "left off" would seem to be a point that is wrong. We should insist on going back at least one more point. The sides should be even punished for not fulfilling that point in the line of negotiations.

For sure, no proceeding from a failure point.

Isn''t that obvious?

In fact, the Arab side always can rest assured that whatever they do or do not do, the negotiations will always begin again without them losing anything. They always march forward, always pressing Israel, even though they have fulfilled little, if at all, of their obligations.

They incite? Who cares? Start from that point.

They inculcate hostility in their schools? Who cares?

They permit terror? Who cares?

Start from "that point" no matter what.

A formula for failure or for Israel''s insecurity.

Kurtzer knows this for he writes:


It is not enough for the Arabs to promise recognition, security and peace for Israel at the conclusion of the peace process; Arabs should be asked to start processes of reconciliation in parallel with peace negotiations.

but he ignores this in the policy-action analysis he offers even though he adds


Until now, our diplomats have been working with discrete tactical approaches—a settlements freeze, proximity talks, direct talks—but without terms of reference, and the administration has backed away early when the tactics have not worked.

Close but Mr. Kurtzer, your approach is inadequate.

You have left out Israel.  Let it down.


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