I don’t think it’s too late for Israelis and Palestinians to make peace. But waiting will make it more difficult. On the other hand, strong American involvement – the kind that has been lacking for the last eight years – could move the process forward. So, since everyone else is offering advice to soon-to-be-President Obama, I’ve offered some as well in my new article in The American Prospect:
The main reason for moving quickly… is that every wasted day makes a two-state solution more difficult to reach. Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas has promised his people that diplomacy can bring independence. Delay eats away at his credibility. Meanwhile, Israeli settlements keep growing. Since the Annapolis conference, the number of settlers has risen from 275,000 to 290,000. (That doesn’t include Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem, for which up-to-date figures aren’t available.) The more settlers, the greater the internal crisis that Israel would face in withdrawing.
No one knows when a two-state solution will become impossible — but the tipping point is approaching. Past that point, as outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warns, Palestinians will demand political rights in a single state (Olmert’s era will be remembered for the strange gap between his dovish and evermore desperate rhetoric and his failure to stop settlement growth or reach a peace agreement). A binational state would teeter between Bosnian-style communal violence and Belgian-style political paralysis.
Read the full article here, and return to South Jerusalem to comment.