In the coming days the Trump administration is reportedly poised to release its plan aimed at reviving the moribund peace process. Noting that, since 1948, Western leaders from Clement Atlee to John Kerry have attempted to negotiate a lasting agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbors, and have failed every time, Amir Taheri suggests their experience should serve as a warning:
There are many reasons why so many prospective dealmakers have failed. The first is that peace is [almost] always imposed by the side that wins a war. There is scarcely an instance in history, which is primarily a narrative of countless wars, in which an outsider has imposed peace on unwilling belligerents. The second reason is that outside dealmakers have their own interests and agendas, which make an already tangled web even more complicated. . . . The third reason is that wannabe dealmakers do not fully appreciate the importance of the status quo, the reality on the ground.
Whenever a status quo is at least tolerable for both belligerents, the desire to risk it in the hope of an ill-defined peace is diminished. Many people in the world live with a status quo they don’t regard as ideal. . . .
Finally, and more importantly, there could be no deal and no peace unless and until those involved in a conflict desire it. . . . My bet is that, at this moment, . . . both [sides] are happier with the status quo than with the prolongation of a “peace process” that could never lead to peace and now is no longer even a process.
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