Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

World Affairs Council of Oregon Hosts Ron Young Lecture on Mideast Peace

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

World Affairs Council of Oregon Hosts Ron Young Lecture on Mideast Peace

Article excerpt

World Affairs Council of Oregon Hosts Ron Young Lecture on Mideast Peace

The World Affairs Council of Oregon's "Great Decisions 1997" lecture series featured Ron Young, executive director of the U.S. Interreligious Committee for Peace in the Middle East, in Portland on March 4. Speaking on "Middle East Peace and the Changing Political Order," Young, author of Missed Opportunities for Peace, explained his view that the peace process should be a priority for the U.S. The Israeli-Arab conflict has been a major obstacle to regional stability and progress for decades, he said, but now there is a chance for a negotiated solution to the conflict.

"The role of the U.S. is ambiguous, but Arabs and Israelis acknowledge that a significant leadership role by the U.S. is essential," he said. "Historically, there is not one example of significant movement toward resolution in which the U.S. did not play an important role."

Young said with the peace process shaky and at times apparently finished, it is important to remember what it has accomplished. "Israel has withdrawn from most of Gaza and from Palestinian population centers on the West Bank, and there's a timetable for further Israeli withdrawals," he said.

"There's an elected Palestinian government on the ground in Palestine," he continued, "and Palestinians now are cooperating on security arrangements that only a few years ago would have seemed impossible. That's part of a process of normalization that's quite an extraordinary accomplishment. …

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