Asked by Michael Varacalli, from New York University
Conflict between Israelis and Palestinians began even before the State of Israel was established in 1948, and the two populations have opposing claims to the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea that have defeated numerous U.S. efforts to broker peace. Right now there is little hope of a comprehensive solution—one that resolves all the issues and involves not only Israel and the PLO but the Arab states as well. Today, the most that Israel can realistically offer is less than the least the Palestinians can realistically accept. For now, the best way forward is to continue talks, but to emphasize practical steps forward on the ground that move Palestinians toward construction of a state.
Though the results of Israel's recent election point to the creation of a new and potentially more conciliatory government, Steven A. Cook saystensions between Jerusalem and Ankara run too deeply for a single election to make much difference.
Just days away from parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is widely expected to form a new government in coming weeks, but what that coalition will look like is still unclear, says CFR's Robert M. Danin.
If there's one indisputable fact about this most polarizing of figures, it's that he is hard to get rid of -- and every retreat, even his most recent withdrawal from political life, lays the groundwork for an eventual counterattack.
Reza Aslan says, "It has always been extremely easy to inject God into political conflicts... But if we are to find an equitable end to such intractable conflicts as the one between Israel and Palestine, we must learn to actively strip them of their religious connotations. Otherwise, we will never stop fighting them."
"Israel needs a Palestinian partner if it is ever to enjoy peace and be the secure, prosperous, democratic, Jewish state it deserves to be. But such a partner will not just emerge; Israel, as the stronger party, actually needs to help the process along," writes Richard Haass.
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