- Texas man arrested for powder-letter hoax
- Islamic State opens ‘marriage bureau’ for single jihadists
- Drone almost blocks California firefighting planes
- Tornado rips off roofs, downs trees near Boston
- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
- White House says Russia ‘losing’ war in Ukraine
- Hamas turns to North Korea for weapons deal, Iran for money
- Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate
Amid Mideast revolt, a chance for Israeli-Palestinian peace
Kerry taps Indyk as envoy to Israeli-Palestinian talks
Question of the Day
As Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met at a State Department dinner Monday night for their first direct talks in more than three years, some in Washington’s foreign policy community said ongoing meltdowns in other Middle Eastern nations may have created a rare window for peace between the two sides.
“There are too many things happening in the region, too many countries that are in a state of flux and, ironically, that’s actually producing an incentive to get these negotiations going again,” said Aram Nerguizian, a senior fellow on the Middle East at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
With particular regard to the motivations of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose government made the unexpected move of freeing 104 Palestinian prisoners Sunday, Mr. Nerguizian offered a sobering assessment: “When everything is burning around you, you don’t need a fire at home, too.”
He made the remarks on a day in which President Obama vowed his full support for a two-state solution in the decades-old conflict and Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced the appointment of Martin Indyk, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, to serve as special U.S. envoy to the negotiations.
With peace talks having broken down in 2010 amid disputes over Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, Mr. Kerry told reporters on Monday afternoon that the pursuit now of “reasonable compromises has to be a keystone of all this effort.”
“I know the negotiations are going to be tough,” said the secretary of state, who personally hosted Monday night’s dinner at Foggy Bottom. “But I also know that the consequences of not trying could be worse.”
Middle East analysts in Washington have expressed little more than guarded optimism toward the restarting of talks.
The question, said Mr. Makovsky, who heads the institute’s Project on the Middle East Peace Process, is whether Israeli and Palestinian negotiators succeed in isolating the key individual issues that have long caused friction between the two sides, such as border agreements, security, the status of Jerusalem and refugee populations.
“I think if they try to do it all, they may fail,” he said. “But if they try to settle for less and don’t overreach, they may achieve things.”
The two sides’ views
The evolving circumstances of the region, however, may be fueling desires among Israeli and Palestinian leaders — albeit for different reasons — to break ground.
“The security environment Israel finds itself in make it that much more important to engage now in a meaningful process,” he said. “Any reduction in tension or instability will have a positive impact on Israeli security because it will potentially then lead to things like normalization with other countries in the region.”
As for the Palestinians, Mr. Nerguizian said, they view the situation as “not much brighter.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Guy Taylor is the National Security Team Leader at The Washington Times, overseeing the paper’s State Department, Pentagon and intelligence community coverage. He’s also a frequent guest on The McLaughlin Group and C-SPAN.
His series on political, economic and security developments in Mexico won a 2012 Virginia Press Association award.
Prior to rejoining The Times in 2011, his work was ...
- Israel's ambassador praises Obama, slams Human Rights Watch report
- U.S. intelligence nearly certain pro-Russian separatists downed Malaysian Airlines flight
- U.S. scrambles as violence escalates in Israel-Hamas conflict
- MH17: Fear of ground-to-air missile strike becomes nightmare reality in Ukraine
- U.S., China to participate in unprecedented joint ground force exercise
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By David Keene
Allowing states to innovate could reduce dependency on bureaucracy
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: 'Obama, Obama, where are you?'
- Border surge puts Obama legacy on immigration at stake
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- Romney would win popular vote in rematch against Obama: CNN poll
- Babson College, BYU win top spots in Money magazine's college rankings
- White House says Russia 'losing' war in Ukraine
- D.C. plans to seek stay of order striking down ban on handguns in public
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq