Extend the Mideast Talks

New York Times
Stanley M. Bergman
April 17, 2014

To the Editor:

Defeatism is not a recipe for Israeli-Palestinian peace (“In the Middle East, Time to Move On,” editorial, April 15). Yet some argue that the United States should take a break because the peace process has hit an impasse. Walking away now would be a mistake.

Washington has long been critical to facilitating Arab-Israeli peacemaking, from the 35-year-old Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty to the current Israeli-Palestinian talks.

Those truly committed to achieving a two-state solution recognize that extending the talks beyond the April 29 deadline set by Secretary of State John Kerry is imperative. That said, is the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, truly committed to a deal?

As Israelis strive to continue the talks, Palestinian dithering once again has proved to be a key obstacle. Mr. Kerry’s relentless shuttle diplomacy over the last nine months ended when he canceled a meeting with Mr. Abbas in Ramallah after the Palestinian leader violated a critical condition of the talks by signing documents to join 15 international conventions and treaties. This followed his flat-out refusal to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, while Israel has indeed recognized a future Palestine as the nation-state of the Palestinian people.

This is not about a blame game but rather about identifying, and overcoming, the real obstacles to reaching a durable two-state agreement and an end to the conflict.

American Jewish Committee
New York, April 17, 2014

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