web analytics
November 1, 2014 / 8 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Why ‘Peace Process’ Champion Changed His Mind



WASHINGTON – Depending on your view of the Middle East and the Obama administration, Aaron David Miller is either a hero or a turncoat.


Miller, a peace process functionary under both Bush administrations and the Clinton administration, published a declaration of independence last month from what he called the “religion” of the peace process.


Critics of the Obama administration’s emphasis on peacemaking – among them neoconservatives who once reviled Miller as an apostle of the process – embraced his article, published in Foreign Policy, as the repudiation of the process.


“One can take exception to some of Miller’s argument, but the core of it is indisputable,” Jennifer Rubin wrote on Commentary Magazine’s Contentions blog. “The peace-process believers ‘need to re-examine their faith.’ “


Defenders of an assertive American role in the Middle East dismiss Miller out of hand as an effete academic now removed from policy.


“For all his pessimism about the future, Miller never asks if the United States should distance itself from an Israel that is in the process of becoming an apartheid state,” Stephen Walt, the Harvard historian and author of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, wrote on his blog on Foreign Policy.


It doesn’t stop in the blogosphere: Miller, the author of The Much Too Promised Land: America’s Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace and now a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, recently returned from a Middle East tour of Lebanon, Israel the Palestinian areas and Syria, and he found himself discussing his article with regional leaders.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saw validation in his own belief that the Obama administration is overly invested in the prospect of imminent Palestinian statehood, Miller and a Netanyahu confidant said.


In an interview with JTA in his office on Pennsylvania Avenue – a 10-minute walk from the White House – Miller took the reactions with equanimity.


“I was prepared to accept the possibility that the piece would be misinterpreted, hijacked, used by people for a variety of reasons,” he said. “So be it. These are my views. Reality changed and it’s not honest, in order to simply continue, to repeat the same mantras.”


This is the “catechism,” outlined in his article, and referring to his State Department years from 1985 to 2003: “First, pursuit of a comprehensive peace was a core, if not the core, U.S. interest in the region, and achieving it offered the only sure way to protect U.S. interests; second, peace could be achieved, but only through a serious negotiating process based on trading land for peace; and third, only America could help the Arabs and Israelis bring that peace to fruition. As befitting a religious doctrine, there was little nuance.”


A thorough reading of Miller’s article does not suggest an abandonment of the creed. Rather he counsels stepping back and re-examining its principles against the light of new Middle East realities.


Miller argues that the issues have become more vexing, and that there are no leaders who match the titans of peacemaking in years past, such as Egyptian President Anwar Sadat or Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.


If anything, he said in the interview, his three weeks in the Middle East reinforced those perceptions.


“What I find difficult to reconcile is how you’re going to get to a conflict-ending agreement which addresses the four core issues that have driven the Israelis and the Palestinians and brought each issue to a finality of claims.


“I just do not see how to do that given the gaps that exist and the inherent constraints on the leaders in the absence also of a real sense of urgency.” 


The four core issues are borders, security, Jerusalem and refugees.


Miller describes how the situation has worsened since the last major effort at a resolution, the Camp David-Taba talks of 2000-01: The status of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has been wounded profoundly by the ouster of his Fatah party from Gaza at the gunpoint of Hamas; Netanyahu is bound by a right-wing coalition (of his choosing) that is not ready to countenance a full-fledged settlement freeze, never mind compromise on Jerusalem; and Obama has had 15 months, distracted by the economy and health care, to match Clinton’s six full years focused on the issue.


Then there’s the region: “Hizbullah and Hamas,” Miller says referring to the terrorist groups in Lebanon and Gaza, respectively. “You have two non-state actors, two non-state environments who are not proxies of Iran and or Syria but who clearly reflect their capacity to want to influence events – and then you have Iran” and its potential nuclear threat.


The prospect that Miller says unnerves him most is that the Obama administration says it will step in with a conflict-ending agreement if the current proximity talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians go nowhere.


“I’m very uneasy because at the end of the day, I don’t see what the game is, I don’t see what the strategy is,” he said. “Even if it’s an initiative, what’s the objective, what’s the strategy?”


In his article, Miller advises that the United States stay involved but realize there are limits. 


“The United States needs to do what it can, including working with Israelis and Palestinians on negotiating core final-status issues (particularly on borders, where the gaps are narrowest), helping Palestinians develop their institutions, getting the Israelis to assist by allowing Palestinians to breathe economically and expand their authority, and keeping Gaza calm, even as it tries to relieve the desperation and sense of siege through economic assistance,” he writes.


“But America should also be aware of what it cannot do as much as what it can.”


Such advice is beside the point for Miller’s new champions and detractors alike, who continue to perceive America’s role in the conflict as either-or.


“It’s had an impact, certainly for Netanyahu and his entourage,” Steve Rosen, who is close to Netanyahu’s advisers, said of Miller’s article in Foreign Policy. “What makes Aaron important is he’s not from central casting . He has credibility as someone who has been a lifetime proponent of the process.”

(JTA)

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Why ‘Peace Process’ Champion Changed His Mind”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Yehudah Glick on the Temple Mount.
Yehuda Glick’s Condition Stabilizing, “He Was Very Lucky” (1:00 PM)
Latest News Stories
Raining in Jerusalem

Starting the 7th of Cheshvan in the Jewish calendar, Jews in Israel will start inserting the formal request for rain in the 9th blessing of the Amidah prayer.

Yehudah Glick on the Temple Mount.

Doctors are predicting minimal long-term disability to Yehudah Glick following surgery today.

Ikea Instruction

Sweden and John Kerry would make wonderful partners to get lost in the same maze.

Little Heroes

Pictured is an IDF ceremony for graduates of the “Little Heroes” foundation, which works to integrate kids with special needs in society, on October 30, 2014. The annual ceremony is in cooperation with the Logistics Corps in order to strengthen the connection between the IDF and the special needs community.

“It’s serious, there are now genuine questions being asked about whether we will be able to vote Labor next May.”

Does that mean Kerry also will stay away?

He is not in a coma and may undergo another operation today.

Israel’s anti-Netanyahu media might regret their wishes if early elections are held.

Authorities in Peru this week arrested a suspected Hezbollah terrorist who planned to murder Jews. Lebanese citizen Mohammed Hamden was in possession of explosives and other materials when he was arrested, according to the Peruvian Interior Ministry. Police found traces of TNT, detonators and other explosive devices in his apartment. Reports indicate that the suspect […]

Israel decides not to go ahead with huge military purchase from U.S., likely to provoke rumors of continuing feud.

Highlight: Exclusive Interview with Rabbi Yehuda Glick at the Foot of the Temple Mount.

Doctors reported as of 8 p.m. (2 p.m. EDT) Thursday night that there is a “very small” improvement in the condition of Yehuda Glick, gunned down by an Arab terrorists Wednesday night, but that he still is in critical condition and his life remains in danger.

Foreign Minister Lieberman may be playing “chicken.” What happens if France follows Sweden?

Conference of Jewish groups chided the Obama administration for the nasty comments made about Bibi.

More Articles from Ron Kampeas

“We have made impressive progress on issues that originally seemed intractable. We have cleared up misunderstandings and held exhaustive discussions on every element of a possible text.”

It’s not yet clear if Nemmouche was acting on orders and, if so, whether the orders came from ISIS.

“The Jewish community is going to have to work harder,” said one veteran official who has worked both as a professional in the Jewish community and a staffer for a Jewish lawmaker.

The disagreements don’t seem to have gone away, despite a cease-fire that appears to be firmly in place.

“On the Hill and with some people with whom I have spoken who are robust Israel supporters, people are concerned if not angry,” one of the staffers, a Democrat, told JTA

President Obama in an April 25 press conference seemed ready to take a break. “There may come a point at which there just needs to be a pause and both sides need to look at the alternatives,” he said.

Obama himself suggested that a break from the process may be necessary.

But Israel’s stance is not sufficiently consequential to set off a fight between friends, neoconservative scholars said.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/why-peace-process-champion-changed-his-mind-2/2010/05/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: