Comment at end
10th December, 2009
[Photos by Chris Hondros/Getty Images North America.) More here.]
Tony Blair, representing The Quartet on the Middle East (L), shakes hands with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (R) December 9, 2009 at the United Nations in New York City. The Quartet, tasked with helping to mediate the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is comprised of the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations.
“Given the impasse in Israeli-Palestinian talks, the U.S. has various options. It could table its own comprehensive peace plan. It could change its focus to brokering a deal between Israel and Syria. Or it could vastly reinvigorate the effort to build up Palestinian institutions on the West Bank as part of a step-by-step progression toward peace. Working with special envoy Tony Blair and the private sector, the U.S. could again help build economic institutions, learning and job centers, industrial free-trade zones and youth programs. It would not require a lot of money; it could be done by enlisting American corporations and organizations in public-private partnerships.
An economic surge must not be a substitute for efforts to reach a comprehensive peace. But it could complement the quest for a final-status agreement by showcasing the benefits that peace would bring both sides. Or it could be the foundation for a ground-up approach in which the two sides focus first on resolving border issues and land swaps, which are actually easier to resolve than they may appear. In the process, Fayyad and Abbas would be shored up. The next step would be tackling trading arrangements, water rights and other practical matters. The thornier ideological issues that go to the heart of each side’s conflicting narrative — the right of return of Palestinian refugees and sovereignty over Jerusalem — could be saved until later. So, too, could the question of Gaza, whose citizens would then be presented with the stark choice of continuing to support Hamas or embracing the peace and prosperity enjoyed by their brethren in the West Bank. And President Obama could take a large step toward fulfilling the hopes he raised in his Cairo speech.”
Isaacson is the CEO of the Aspen Institute
Ed: As you may have noticed me mention before – “give him the tools…”