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The Mother of All Quagmires

I’ve just returned from a week-long trip through Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Israel’s border with Gaza, and I’m reminded all over again of what has been beaten into me during my many visits to the Middle East: there is no solution to the problems that vex that region right now. Most Americans are inherently optimistic and think just about any problem in the world can be solved. We put a man on the moon before I was born, but that was easy compared with securing peace between Israelis and Arabs.

The American Jewish Committee brought me and seven of my colleagues to Israel and set up interviews with Israeli military officers, politicians, academics, and journalists on the far-left,the far-right and at every point in between. One of my colleagues asked the eternal question during one of our meetings: “What is the solution to this problem?” He meant the Arab-Israeli conflict, of course, and the answer from our Israeli host was revealing in more ways than one: “You Americans are always asking us that,” he said and laughed darkly.

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