Commentary Magazine


Who Are the Realists Now?

The Washington Post lays out a contrast between two competing approaches to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. First there is Elliott Abrams:

It is time to face certain facts: We are not on the verge of Israeli-Palestinian peace; a Palestinian state cannot come into being in the near future; and the focus should be on building the institutions that will allow for real Palestinian progress in the medium or longer term.

On the other side, is Nathan J. Brown of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who wants a signed peace treaty between Israel and Hamas. Gosh, had we known it was that simple we’d have had Hamas sign a peace agreement earlier! But, alas, they are committed to the destruction of Israel. So even if Hamas signed such a document does Brown think it would make any real-world difference?

The contrast between these competing viewpoints could not be more clear. Abrams looks at the parties, the narrative of the last decade, and the realistic options available to us. Brown thinks all of that can be ignored in favor of securing a paper agreement. We’ll find out which view the Obama administration embraces — and will thereby learn just how grounded they are in the real world.