Former State Department Adviser on Why Mideast Peace Is Stuck


Over 20 years, through Republican and Democratic administrations, Aaron David Miller witnessed the fits and starts of the Mideast peace process while serving as an adviser to six secretaries of states.

Miller, who is now a Woodrow Wilson Center public policy scholar, recapped these years in his 2008 book, “The Much Too Promised Land: America’s Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace.”

But now he’s abandoned the cause altogether, saying he no longer believes in the “religion” of Mideast peace. He explains why in a recent article in Foreign Policy magazine.

Tensions in the region flared once again on Monday, when Israeli commandos halted a Turkish aid flotilla headed for the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, killing at least nine pro-Palestinian activists. The incident spurred some to call for more U.S. engagement and others less.

“No conflict-ending agreement, which will resolve Jerusalem, borders, refugees and security to produce a finality of claims, is imaginable to me right now,” Miller told us. “There may be another route, which involves focusing on the territory of a Palestinian state, getting to the settlement issue, security, maybe talking about the neighborhoods in Jerusalem, but try to do the whole enchilada, we’re going to fail.”

The problem, he continued, is: “You care only about what you own. Israelis and Palestinians do not own this. Until they do, until they invest in it, until it becomes theirs … (President) Barack Obama cannot substitute his urgency, his sense of partnership or leadership if it isn’t there. And right now it’s not.”

You can watch our full discussion here:

Video edited by Larisa Epatko