I generally try not to say anything too bold about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or the oft-delayed 'peace process.' Partly this is because I don't consider myself to be enough of an expert on the convoluted array of issues that make the conflict so intractable. The rest of it is that I don't much like being yelled at.
But a recent article in the NY Review of Books struck me as worth putting out there because it undermines what seems to be a basic assumption among the international community that bilateral negotiations toward a final two-state solution are the only way to reach a durable peace. The article's authors are Hussein Agha (who wrote with Rashid Khalidi 'A Framework for a Palestinian National Security Doctrine') and Robert Malley (of the International Crisis Group). The two of them have published other articles on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict both in the NY Review of Books and elsewhere.
I won't rehearse all the points made in the article but will just point out why I thought it was worth a read: they make a convincing argument that the peace process has been too fraught with missteps and failures to imagine that negotiations can start right up again where Bush, Olmert, and Abbas left off. While I was not entirely convinced by the alternatives they presented (and neither, it seemed, were they!) I think their point about a return to the drawing board is a good one. Clearly the current track isn't working. But can I think of a better alternative (and could they)? Not really.
(On an unrelated note, for those of you who attended the Joost Hiltermann talk a couple of weeks ago, here's a podcast on the NY Review's website of him discussing the new election law in Iraq).