Obstacles to Peace

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By Hugo Foster

The Guardian's Jonathan Freedland makes a decent case for the 'Talk to Hamas, Syria etc' argument in his recent article 'To rescue the two-state solution, Israel must make peace with Syria'. Current US foreign policy is based on the redundant premise that lasting peace can be achieved by negotiating only with one's favoured partners, ignoring the other core constuencies with genuine grievances. To give peace negotiations genuine substance, Freedland recommends reviving wider Israeli-Arab peace talks alongside negotiations over a two-state solution, and interestingly, thinks that Israel's leaders are not completely opposed to this scenario. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the US. Thus rather than being a force for peace in the region, it is in fact an obstacle to it; "Those in the know say flatly that the Bush administration will not allow Jerusalem to talk to Damascus, which it deems an associate member of the 'axis of evil.' Put it down as one more reason why the world waits, ever more impatiently, for Jan. 20. 2009 – the day George W. Bush will at last be gone. "