Longtime Mideast peace negotiator Aaron David Miller writes that a “conflict-ending agreement between Israelis and Palestinians may no longer be possible.”
Depending on your politics (and to continue today’s theme), this is either incredibly depressing or really good news (you’ll forgive me if I don’t join the celebrations).
The main problem, says Miller, is that
the political will is lacking among leaders to reach an agreement and that the current situation on the ground between Israelis and Palestinians makes it impossible for them to do [so]. That everyone knows what the ultimate solution will look like (an intriguing notion that is supposed to make people feel better) is irrelevant if the circumstances for an agreement don’t exist.
So what can the next president do?
Manage it as best you can: help support an Israeli-Hamas ceasefire, train PA security forces, pour economic aid into the West Bank and Gaza, even nurture Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on the big issues, but don’t think you can solve it; you can’t.
Instead, go all-out for an Israeli-Syrian agreement which is doable and will enhance American credibility to confront Hamas, Hizbullah and Iran over time with tough choices, and improve America’s regional standing. Then, perhaps, your chances on the Israeli-Palestinian track may be better. In the interim, I’m afraid sadly that the bottom line for Israelis and Palestinians is not a good one: Israelis will have their state, but Palestinians will never let them completely enjoy it.