Israel and Hamas engaged in one of the longest wars in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict this summer. The fundamental problem, which caused the war and all its destruction, is that Hamas is a terrorist organization whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel, and praises "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," and claims among many other fiendish accusations that Jews started World Wars I and II.
At times like these, I generally try to return to the basics. Following the collapse last April of the John Kerry-led peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and now in the wake of Operation Protective Edge, the question no doubt will be asked — what is left of the vision of two states for two peoples? I don’t know if we are further away from reaching it, or, potentially, closer. I do know that there is no sensible alternative, and the parties, with U.S. and international support, have to keep trying again and again.
Today US administration spokespersons will explain that the speech focused on security and not on foreign policy, and that is the reason the Middle East was not mentioned. But that does not explain why yesterday morning, in an appearance that was broadcast by three networks, US Secretary of State John Kerry did not mention the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at all.
By the standards of the parallel universe inhabited by Israelis and Palestinians, April 23 was a good day. Everyone now feels vindicated, self-righteous, sanctimonious and in their comfort zone, with leadership and statesmanship reduced to saying "I told you so."
There's a new industry in Washington, Jerusalem and Ramallah. It's called Kerry-bashing: The secretary of State never should have tried to bring about an Israeli-Palestinian deal; he wasted too much time; he's too soft on the Israelis or Palestinians or both; he needs to get on to other issues.
It is our sincere hope that in the period ahead President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu will each demonstrate leadership, and find a suitable formula to continue negotiations toward a lasting resolution of the conflict. We fully support the continued commitment of Secretary Kerry and President Obama to work to advance this crucial goal.
As the United States searches for a formula to extend the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, this is a particularly propitious moment to advance a regional architecture to the talks and, by doing so, bolster the prospects of reaching a lasting accord.
Twelve years ago this week, the Arab League adopted the Arab Peace Initiative – first introduced by Saudi Arabia – advancing the promise of normalized relations between Israel and the Arab world in the context of a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace. Since endorsed by the 57 nations of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the initiative is notable in its scale, scope and opportunity
However, it remains a promise to be fulfilled upon the conclusion of a peace agreement, not an action plan for obtaining one. That should change.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon made headlines yet again in both Israel and the United States last week with his criticism of U.S. foreign policy and statements that Israel cannot depend on the United States when it comes to Iran. While some media outlets reported that Ya’alon apologized for his remarks to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel—he has issued a statement voicing regret for any offense his comments may have caused—the State Department said no apology has come.
A natural analyst and voracious consumer of intelligence, Sam was also determined to see the world the way it was, and not to try to make policy based only on the way we wanted it to be. He believed that to fix the world, you first have to understand it.