Coming off of two weeks of meetings with Palestinian, Israeli, Jordanian and Egyptian government and civil society leaders, including the Palestinian Prime Minister and Israeli Parliament members, it is hard not to be deeply pessimistic on the prospects for Palestinian Israeli peace. There is a perception that the peace process and two state solution have hit a dead end. When pressed on what to do about it answers range all over the landscape, from getting President Obama to Israel to getting the US out of the way. When pressed to predict what will actually happen, a great many examples were offered as predictions that Israel will continue to complete its very own “Road Map” drive. The demolitions, new settlements, wall construction and new security zone designations have nothing to do with security but everything to do with getting more land and squeezing Israeli and Jerusalem Palestinians out of their areas into the West Bank or, better yet, out of the occupied territories all together.

The Israeli government and the majority of its public are comfortable with the situation as it is. They will not budge in negotiations on Jerusalem, certain border issues, and  the right of return. What is to preclude, as one Jordanian journalist proposed, an indefinite extension of talks on these issues, coupled with the recognition of Palestine as a state, as a number of Latin American countries have done? There has been no final agreement between India and Pakistan for over 60 years on Kashmir. For all the differences, is Kashmir the future for Palestine?

This Kashmirization will not bring real peace. It certainly won’t bring Israel peace with its neighbors who won’t accept a non- final agreement. It won’t bring peace inside its neighbors’ borders, including a recognized Palestine. In Palestine it is expected that the public will erupt in violent demonstrations, perhaps against the Palestinian government widely distrusted by Palestinians as corrupt, and in the Jordan Valley against Israeli military who, in the absence of a final agreement, will have kept a presence in the area.

Although Israel would be better off at peace with its neighbors, the US will be the big loser in this scenario. It will have less and less ability to make peace and less and less ability also to get out of the region. It will be blamed for the violence in Palestine and other countries in the region. This is why the US must continue to push for a two state solution and final agreement, and on an urgent basis.

It is no diminution of Israel’s security to get Israel out of Palestine.

Advertisements