Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s threat to withdraw from Palestinian Authority politics — an act that could have grave consequences should he make good on it — is only the tip of a large iceberg threatening to sink the very structure of Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking.
Would-be peacemakers might want to wait before they start popping champagne corks in the wake of Kadima’s election victory. The outcome of the Israeli election has further complicated an already-muddled outlook for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
By January 20, President Barack Obama will, no doubt, have already received a tsunami of recommendations on what to do about the Arab-Israeli issue. At the risk of adding to the flood, let me offer up some observations gathered from almost 20 years of traveling the negotiator’s highway. Following this advice will not guarantee success, but it would give the new administration a chance to succeed.
Domestic politics, as Bill Clinton’s national security advisor, Anthony Lake, told me when I interviewed him for my book, is like sex to the Victorians: It’s on everybody’s mind, but nobody wants to talk about it. It’s about time that we start talking about it, particularly when it involves Israel, the pro-Israeli community in America and Arab-Israeli diplomacy. Furthering American national interests in the Middle East depends on it. But this conversation must be honest and clear.