Syria Reasserts Its Centrality To Peace

Despite efforts to internationally isolate Syria, especially during the Bush era, Syria has reasserted itself as a central player in the Middle East. Following the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005, the United States withdrew its ambassador to Beirut, intensified sanctions against Damascus and sought to deepen Syria's isolation from the international community. The recent array of high-level visitors to Damascus-including United States officials-demonstrates that President Bashar al-Assad has weathered the storm of isolation and has emerged as an essential actor in resolving regional disputes, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel should now respond favorably to Damascus' call for renewed peace talks, and in so doing utilize Syria's influence to advance peace, rather than thwart it.

October 25, 2010 Read more

A Paradigm Shift

The Arab League's decision to give more time for efforts to resume the stalled Israeli-Palestinian negotiations provides more than just political cover for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas-it also signals a more prominent role for the Arab states in determining the fate of the peace process. The Obama Administration must further encourage this apparent shift by the Arab states to expand the scope and change the direction of the negotiations to provide the peace process with the comprehensiveness that has been sorely lacking.

October 21, 2010 Read more

Israel’s False Sense Of Invincibility

The military and economic prowess currently enjoyed by Israel has led to a false sense of invincibility and a belief that the status quo between Israelis and Palestinians is sustainable-yet it is not. While Israel's economy is robust and public confidence in its military remains high, Israel's national aspiration for a safe, secure and prosperous homeland for the Jews has yet to be achieved. Obtaining this goal is inextricably linked to the establishment of a lasting two-state solution; relinquishing occupied Arab land while abandoning the perilous notion held by many Israelis that their country can maintain this false sense of invincibility. Perhaps this attitude explains the Netanyahu government's unwillingness to extend the settlement freeze for a mere two more months, because the Israeli public has become complacent and does not care if the negotiations break down completely.

October 18, 2010 Read more

Jerusalem Must Exemplify Coexistence

The religious, demographic, physical, psychological and political realities facing the Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem today require that it be an undivided-yet shared-city serving as a microcosm exemplifying Israeli-Palestinian coexistence. Jerusalem not only represents the largest urban concentration of Israelis and Palestinians coexisting alongside one another, but also the epicenter of the conflict that divides them. The leaders on both sides must counter the rejectionists at every level to create a solid foundation in Jerusalem for a lasting two-state solution.

October 11, 2010 Read more

Reconciling Israel’s Security With Palestinian Statehood

The two interdependent issues which hover over every aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations are satisfying Israel's national security requirements while meeting the Palestinian demand to end the Israeli occupation. Whereas the Palestinians must understand that unless Israel feels secure, there will be no independent Palestinian state, similarly, Israel must recognize that a two-state solution must mean an end to Israeli occupation in any form. To achieve these two objectives, both sides must carefully consider not only each other's requirements, but also demonstrate sensitivity to each other's mindset, which has been ingrained for decades and continues to fuel their conflicting positions.

October 4, 2010 Read more

The Settlement Enterprise Has Run Its Course

Settlement construction in the West Bank has historically served four main objectives for Israel: greater security, a stronger connection to ancient biblical lands, a better way of life for residents, and pressure on the Palestinians to accept the reality of Israel's existence. Today, each of these goals has been largely met. The settlement enterprise has therefore run its course. It now represents an albatross that threatens to thwart Israel's chance to achieve lasting peace and security.

September 27, 2010 Read more

Hamas Must Play A Role In The Two-State Solution

The negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority can potentially succeed, but such a success cannot be sustained unless Hamas is brought into the political process in some capacity. Concessions made or breakthroughs achieved must represent the majority of the electorates, as there can be no lasting peaceful solution without recreating a unified Palestinian polity in the West Bank and Gaza. The Arab states should therefore heed President Obama's call to meaningfully contribute to the peace process by pressing Hamas to renounce violence and accept the principles of the Arab Peace Initiative as a common frame of reference for advancing Palestinian unity and a comprehensive resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

September 20, 2010 Read more

A Solution to the Palestinian Refugees Issue

Of all the conflicting issues Israelis and Palestinians must resolve in the negotiations – including territorial claims, secure borders and the future of East Jerusalem – the Palestinian refugee problem in particular has the potential to stymie any pragmatic solution to the conflict. As Israelis and Palestinians renew direct talks, the European Union can and must begin to play a key role in helping the parties resolve this difficult and thorny issue.

September 13, 2010 Read more

Can Turkey Defuse Iran’s Nuclear Challenge?

Now is the time for Turkey to play a meaningful role in curbing Iran's ambition to acquire nuclear weapons. As sanctions intensify – and before Israel or the United States seriously consider taking more coercive (including military) action against Iran's nuclear facilities – Turkey's unique position, influence over and experience with Iran could be utilized. But for Turkey to play such a role, it must display the moral equivalence and the kind of pragmatic leadership that can engender confidence in its meditation efforts in the region.

September 8, 2010 Read more
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