America cannot give up on Mideast peace process

In a recent Viewpoints article, Aaron Miller claimed that Secretary of State John Kerry might succeed in promoting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, but the odds are against it. Based on several studies, I submit that Miller overlooked many factors that could lead toward success.

The main roadblock sabotaging the peace process is Israel’s occupation and Jewish settlements in Palestinian lands set aside for their state, driven by hard-liner Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But Israel is paying a high cost for the occupation, burdening its struggling economy and provoking terrorist attacks against Israel and its American ally. Worse yet, without the two-state solution, Israel will either cease to be a democracy by disenfranchising Palestinians or cease to be a Jewish state by enfranchising Palestinians, soon to be a majority under Israeli control.

Moreover, Netanyahu is coming under heavy pressure from his own people. Justice Minister Izipi Livni threatened to quit Netanyahu’s shaky coalition unless he promoted the peace process. Now she’s Israel’s chief negotiator in the peace talks. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned that a failure to promote the peace process could lead Israel to international isolation. According to a recent poll, 60 percent of Israelis supported “dismantling most of the settlements … as part of a peace agreement with the Palestinians.” After the European Union threatened Israel with economic restrictions, Israel’s leading manufacturers aired their fears to Netanyahu, stirring fears for his own political career.

Recently, Kerry warned Netanyahu that should the “current peace talks bear no fruit,” Israel may be facing an entirely friendless world. Since then, “Netanyahu is listening to Kerry’s warnings with newly open ears,” according to Jeffrey Goldberg, a specialist in Israeli affairs.

Edward Cuddy