Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

An Israeli-Palestinian Agreement?

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

An Israeli-Palestinian Agreement?

Article excerpt

The Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC invited three seasoned observers of Arab-Israeli diplomacy to a lively discussion on June 28 regarding the current impasse in the peace process, possible U.N. action in the fall, and the implications of both for Americans, Palestinians and Israelis alike.

Washington Post editor and columnist Jackson Diehl opened the discussion by asking each panelist how close the two sides are to reaching an agreement. According to Brandeis University Prof. Shai Feldman, Israeli-Palestinian relations are headed for a train wreck at the U.N. General Assembly in September. The Palestinian train is moving at high speed toward full membership in the U.N., Feldman said, while the Israeli train is stationary, unable or unwilling to avoid the collision. The U.N. vote will be seen as a "green light" by young Palestinians who are planning to stage a massive march to Jerusalem, a peaceful protest similar to Cairo's Tahir Square demonstrations. This nonviolent protest would result in a massive clash with Israel Defense Forces, Feldman warned.

Dr. Hussein Ibish, senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, pointed out that there already has been a clash of policy and politics. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is doing nothing but perpetuating the status quo because it "works for him politically" with his domestic audience. Regarding the Palestinian national unity agreement, Ibish said, "There is a Palestinian agreement to make an agreement, but nothing has been agreed on yet. …

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