Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Placing 'All Options' on the Palestinian-Israeli Negotiating Table

Were Washington truly to consider "all options," it would revolutionize Mideast affairs.

Washington should consider "all options" toward the Palestinian-Israeli conflict (see OpEd News, March 16, 2010), reject the irrational extremes that relate to instigating violence, and then start a zero-based review of its enormous array of logical policy options. The graph below puts in context a select set of moderate steps Washington could take now to break the logjam.

The eight selected exemplar options in the "space for a moderate U.S. policy shift" constitute an incremental series of policy steps to include all relevant actors in the dialogue and enable everyone on the two sides to begin to take ownership of the conflict resolution as it becomes defined. These steps have the additional virtue of enabling the average Palestinian on the street to see with his or her own eyes substantive progress right from the start rather than just hearing promises about some indeterminate future while at the same time laying out a schedule for Israeli actions to facilitate the readjustments that the Israeli public will have to make. This approach may minimize violent protest and public fears.

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