David Halperin, assistant director of Israel Policy Forum, has written an effective response to Thomas Friedman’s recent note of frustration in suggesting that the US should walk away in a snit from its efforts to renew negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Halperin begins:
When President Obama appointed former Senator George Mitchell as his Special Envoy for the Middle East Peace Process on only his second day in office, one cannot imagine he envisioned the region being mired in a painful stalemate less than a year later. On the contrary, his early engagement was designed to keep such an impasse from occurring.
Unfortunately, mistakes were made. The U.S. went too far in demanding nothing less than a complete settlement freeze, ensuring that the Palestinians could demand no less. The popular right-wing government in Israel remained obstinate on the freeze; the U.S. then backtracked, causing the Palestinians to cry foul and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to threaten not to run in the next election. In the process, Israelis have lost trust in Obama (if they ever had any to begin with is debatable), and the Palestinians have lost their once high hopes.
Read this entire piece at IPF’s Website. And consider reading my article, “Jews on J Street,” at the ‘In These Times’ Website. The connecting thread here is that J Street is all about the United States doing whatever it can to forge agreement for a two-state solution.