U.S. Middle East Policy and the Peace Process
- Task Force Report
- Analysis and policy prescriptions of major foreign policy issues facing the United States, developed through private deliberations among a diverse and distinguished group of experts.
The collapse of confidence between Israelis and Palestinians over the past year and the ability of opponents of peace on both sides to exploit incremental measures to their advantage have brought the Middle East peace process to a dangerous impasse. The chief principles of U.S. policy are no longer effective: Incrementalism, far from building confidence, threatens to undermine it further; and an American role limited to facilitation will not enable the parties to resume successful negotiations. Therefore, intensive diplomatic efforts by the United States are needed to join the parties in the hopes of establishing a new Declaration of Principles, which would set the framework for final-status negotiations.
This 1997 Independent Task Force, sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations, calls for a bold American initiative to help Israel and Palestine reach an agreement on the broad contours of a final settlement that can satisfy the minimal aspirations of both parties. Headed by Project Coordinator Henry Siegman, the report establishes the goals of the Declaration of Principles as framing the difficult issues of settlements, boundaries, and Jerusalem “in the context of agreed general goals.” Moreover, the report asserts that only the promise that these aspirations are achievable can revitalize the peace process and sustain it to a successful conclusion, reinforcing the utter importance of establishing a realistic Declaration.