Continued from page 1

Shortly after meeting with Mrs. Clinton last month, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he would not run for re-election in January. His aides attributed his decision in part to what they called the secretary’s apparent siding with Israel on the settlement issue.

Despite a full-time effort to get the two sides talking again and repeated trips to the region, the administration’s special envoy, former Sen. George Mitchell, has not been successful.

Prince Zeid was also critical of Arab governments for “not marketing properly” a 2002 plan known as the Arab peace initiative, which included so-called final status issues, such as Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees’ right of return and borders of a future Palestinian state.

He expressed understanding for the trauma Jews in Israel feel because of the Holocaust and their sense of being surrounded in a hostile region that he said made them fear making concessions.

But he said both sides were to blame for the failure to resolve the historic dispute.

U.S. officials “must be sitting there wondering what sort of people we are,” Prince Zeid said. “They must wonder whether the Arabs [and Israelis] truly deserve anything other than the misery they have created for themselves. It’s almost like watching two children fight.”