Lower your expectations

Tony Karon, Rootless Cosmopolitan, November 23:

At best, Annapolis and the year that follows is going to be more process, but certainly no peace. U.S. power in the region has continued ebb, sharply, and the basis for believing that a bilateral process between Israel and the PA can achieve a two-state solution today appears hopelessly naive — the balance of power between them, and within each side’s electorate, essentially precludes it. The only basis for achieving a two-state solution now, if one is still possible (which I wouldn’t bet on), is for such a solution to be enforced by the international community. Essentially, it would require the United Nations to give the force of international law for a framework that defined the borders and other final status issues between the two, and pressed both sides to accept that framework — it may be easier for politicians on both sides to be presented with an offer they can’t refuse, rather than to have them face their electorates on the basis of negotiating compromises that their political bases would deem impermissible. After all, Israel came into being on the basis of the international community telling the inhabitants of British mandate Palestine that it would have to be partitioned. It’s not like there’s no precedent. But somehow, I think you’ll agree, that’s extremely unlikely to happen.

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