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The Beginning and End of the Peace Process

Elliott Abrams’s reflections on “The End of the ‘Peace Process’” are worth reading in their entirety. Abrams has been urging Israel to consider far-reaching steps toward the Palestinians, but says this is no longer politically possible after the Palestinian Authority friended Hamas. He recommends a new American policy: “let the Palestinians vote next year, and then see where we stand.”

In George W. Bush’s landmark 2002 speech (and the 2003 Roadmap), support for a Palestinian state was conditional. It depended on Palestinians’ establishing a “practicing democracy” and dismantling terrorist groups. Nine years later, a terrorist group rules half the putative state, and the PA has signed a “reconciliation” agreement with it. The agreement promises elections “within a year,” but the only practical effect is to defer (once again) the local elections the PA had promised for July.

J. E. Dyer analyzes the “modest proposal” to defer consideration of a Palestinian state until the Palestinians hold the election they have purportedly agreed to hold:  

Hamas and Fatah mounted their theatrics this week with fingers crossed behind their backs, the very picture of gangland thugs simulating the observances of civilization.  There is utility in pointing this out – but there is none in putting all of Israel’s or America’s effort into a series of rhetorical skirmishes with gang leaders between now and September. . . .

This proposal puts the onus on Fatah and Hamas, which is where it belongs. It also sets a condition for the European Union … to choose between supporting an election – the obviously correct path by the EU’s own lights – and the irresponsible precedent of conferring peremptory statehood on an unelected “government” that includes an active terrorist organization.

There is no American interest in supporting a Palestinian state that cannot hold an election, or holds an election that produces a government with terrorists sworn to destroy Israel. It is time to apply the conditions the U.S. set when the “peace process” began—or end the process altogether.


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