|CRISIS IN THE MIDDLE EAST
April 4, 1997
in this forum:
Can Arabs and Israelis share Jerusalem? What can President Clinton do? What effect has Hamas had on the peace process? Can Israeli policy be compared to Hitler's? What role does AIPAC play in U.S. support for Israel? Can the United Nations contribute to acheiving peace and security?
March 24, 1997:
Margaret Warner talks withShlomo Gur of the Israeli Embassy and Khalil Foutah of the PLO.
March 4, 1997:
Charles Krause talks with Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Arafat advisor.
February 13, 1997:
Charles Krause discusses Clinton and Netanyahu's meeting with Dore Gold, foreign policy aide to Netanyahu.
January 15, 1997:
Jim Lehrer leads a discussion of the Hebron deal.
December 18, 1996:
Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski debate a critical letter sent by eight former U.S. foreign policy chiefs to Israel. -
October 15, 1996:
Warren Christopher talks about the peace process.
October 2, 1996:
A NewsHour interview with U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk.
October 1, 1996:
A NewHour look at the emergency White House Peace Summit between Netanyahu and Arafat.
May 31, 1996:
Israeli Election Forum : The NewsHour's Charles Krause answered questions on Netanyahu's victory.
May 23, 1996:
Seeing the Future : a look at the Israeli elections.
Browse the NewsHour's coverage of the Middle-East.
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Palestine's Home Page
The Jerusalem Post
Michael Rosenberg of Washington, D.C. asks:
Is this the end?
Professor, both Tom Friedman and AM Rosenthal have written in the past two days that the Oslo process is "on the brink." Do you believe it is? And, if so, what could our President do to save a process that has advanced Middle East peace -- a central U.S. foreign policy goal? Is it time for Bill Clinton to emulate Jimmy Carter, or Secretary Albright to pick up where Henry Kissinger left off, i.e. direct personal involvement in the process.
Amos Perlmutter responds:
To use the words of the most respected strategist in the Middle East, Zeev Schiff, Israeli defense correspondent of Haaretz, in an article on March 14, 1997 titled "The Failure of the Oslo Concept, he argued that, "the foundations of building blocks and trust that existed under Rabin-Peres are dead and Oslo is evaporating," and for all intents and purposes has reached a cul-de-sac. "The fruits of peace' have become rotten. The normalization that Israel hoped for is evaporating." And therefore, Schiff recommends that Israel, rather than losing more and more chips that will not make up for the basic distrust between Netanyahu and Arafat, must move immediately in the direction of a final and permanent settlement, extricating Israel from the morass of unpromising and unfruitful redeployments that would be soaked in Israeli and Palestinian blood, overleaping Oslo to begin final status negotiations on all thorny issues now.
I don't believe that President Clinton or Secretary Albright should emulate either Carter's or Kissinger's strategy. The importance of Carter's intervention was that he helped break the Arab-Israeli hostility. No president in the world will change Arafat or Netanyahu, nor is Israeli-Palestinian peace a center of American foreign policy in the Middle East. Greater attention on the part of the president must be paid to Turkey, which is now tottering under Islamic domination to the role that Iran and Syria play in fomenting terrorism and revolution in the Middle East, especially the role of the murder of American airmen in Dharan we must leave Netanyahu and Arafat to the mercy of their interests.
Muhammad Hallaj responds:
Whether or not the Oslo process is "on the brink" depends on whether or not the Netanyahu government is allowed to get away with its provocative and obstructionist policies. It is not fated to fail, but it can be undermined.
What can President Clinton do? As a signatory to the Oslo agreements, the U.S. is honor-bound to see to it that the parties implement them in good faith. The problem is that U.S. partisanship makes its involvement counterproductive. The recent U.S. veto of the Security Council resolution on settlement in Jerusalem is a case in point. Unfortunately, the Clinton administration has subcontracted American Mideast policy to the Israeli lobby in Washington, and for that reason I do not see how it can be peacemaker in the Middle East. Perhaps the time has come to reconvene the international peace conference which began this process in Madrid nearly six years ago.