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Washington Post: What Would Netanyahu Do for Peace?

Author: David Makovsky, Director, Project on the Middle East Peace Process, Washington Institute for Near East Policy
May 16, 2011

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David Makovsky considers the conditions under which Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu woudl consider peace negotiations with Palestine.

Just a few weeks ago, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahuís upcoming visit to Washington had the makings of a confrontation amid U.S. dissatisfaction over peace policy. Then Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas signed a power-sharing arrangement with Hamas. Although Washington cannot easily demand that Netanyahu make major concessions on peace as Abbas joins forces with a group sworn to Israelís destruction, the Israeli prime minister should still arrive this week with a plan for renewed peace talks.

Concerns about the Palestinian unity government are understandable. The Abbas-Hamas deal jeopardizes important gains in the West Bank of the past four years: the exemplary economic stewardship of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who oversaw 9 percent annual growth at a time of global economic recession; and the security cooperation between Israel and the PA, which has led to an unprecedented calm after several years of bloody violence.

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