Mideast Peace Talks

 

The New York Times
Robert Elman
May 9, 2013

 

To the Editor:

Secretary of State John Kerry's effort to revive Mideast peace negotiations is encouraging (“One Step Forward,” editorial, May 3). The United States, critical to achieving Arab-Israeli peace, must never give up trying. Israelis certainly will not.

The main obstacle, however, is not, as you suggest, the Israeli government. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly affirmed a commitment to a negotiated two-state settlement with the Palestinians. Most recently, he stated that peace is imperative for Israel to avoid a binational state.

But successful negotiations require an equally committed partner. Why is the Palestinian Authority leadership continually given a pass on responsibility? After all, President Mahmoud Abbas walked away more than four years ago. Secretary Kerry’s noble effort will move forward when Mr. Abbas returns to direct negotiations without the deal-blocking preconditions that have hindered their resumption.

Meanwhile, Qatar and other Arab governments can help by taking concrete steps, as President Obama has repeatedly asked, to engage Israel directly and thereby contribute to a new regional dynamic.

ROBERT ELMAN
Pres., American Jewish Committee
New York, May 3, 2013

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