Jul. 6, 2014
The turmoil in the area, together with the Quartet’s desire to reshape the Middle East, make a regional arrangement all the more possible.
No one argues that it will be difficult to forge an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. This is because the conflict has deep roots, and the issues requiring compromise are even more complicated. Further, and no less troubling, is that since the Oslo Accords in 1993, the two sides are left almost completely without trust in one another.
A river of blood has flowed on both sides, an Israeli prime minister was assassinated and the extremists’ voices are getting louder and louder. Leadership is weak on both sides. The United States’ influence as a mediator is waning. Europe is busy with its own affairs in Ukraine. Settlements are being built faster than ever.
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We also cannot ignore the many troubling processes underway in a changing Middle East. Iran continues working on its nuclear program; Syria is knee-deep in blood and flooding with jihadist combatants. The conflict there is affecting Lebanon’s stability as Syrian refugees pour in. Iraq is also falling apart; the Saudi kingdom is making overtures toward Iran.
The current Egyptian leadership is embroiled in conflict with the Muslim Brotherhood, and dealing with countless other economic issues. Jordan is trying to survive the waves of Syrian – and possibly soon also Iraqi – refugees, amid an unstable economy and internal instability of its own. Libya is descending into tribalism. Worst of all, from the pessimists’ perspective, is that Hamas and Fatah are in a process of reconciliation once again, which may collapse yet again following the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers, allegedly by Hamas.