Blogs: The Skeptics

No, a new surge isn’t the solution to ISIS

Give Abbas Another Chance

The Skeptics

At its core, the reason why Netanyahu and Abbas don’t get along very much is because both men find it difficult to back down from their principles. For Netanyahu, the notion that the Palestinians would refuse to label Israel as a Jewish state is incomprehensible; for Abbas, caving on this demand is politically infeasible and would make the Palestinian Authority an accomplice to second-class citizenship for Palestinians living within Israel’s internationally recognized borders. On settlements, Abbas finds it hard to fathom why Netanyahu cannot see the bigger picture—that retaining Israel’s settlement blocs and building new ones means the death of the two-state solution as we all know it. Meanwhile, Netanyahu views Abbas’s complaints on settlements as a red herring, meant to distract the international community from Palestinian terrorism. The Netanyahu-Abbas relationship resembles a vicious circle where nothing gets done and the actions of one lead to equally destabilizing and unproductive actions of the other.

With Abbas’s interview last week, however, we may finally be witnessing an attempt by the Palestinians to escape a Middle East conflict that can best be described as a sinking crater. When Abbas refers to Netanyahu as “the partner” for peace, the prime minister’s office would be wise to listen and take advantage of the compliment by sending some equally constructive words back to Ramallah. Or, better yet, Netanyahu could order his coalition government to curb the exponentially high rate of home demolitions that occurred over the first three months of this year. For the Israelis, temporarily pausing demolitions of illegal Palestinian structures would be more politically palatable than another moratorium on all settlement building. And if the Israelis do indeed show good faith, the Palestinians should be required to show some good faith of their own by refraining from any further attempts in the Security Council to internationalize a problem that can only be tackled by both parties directly.

Words mean something in diplomacy. If the Israelis and Palestinians can’t get themselves to authorize confidence-building measures to improve the atmosphere, maybe they can muster the words to do so.

Daniel R. DePetris is an analyst at Wikistrat, Inc., a geostrategic consulting firm and a freelance researcher. He has also written for CNN.com, Small Wars Journal and the Diplomat.

Image: Kremlin.ru

Pages

Obama Must Lift the Fog of Drone War

The Skeptics

At its core, the reason why Netanyahu and Abbas don’t get along very much is because both men find it difficult to back down from their principles. For Netanyahu, the notion that the Palestinians would refuse to label Israel as a Jewish state is incomprehensible; for Abbas, caving on this demand is politically infeasible and would make the Palestinian Authority an accomplice to second-class citizenship for Palestinians living within Israel’s internationally recognized borders. On settlements, Abbas finds it hard to fathom why Netanyahu cannot see the bigger picture—that retaining Israel’s settlement blocs and building new ones means the death of the two-state solution as we all know it. Meanwhile, Netanyahu views Abbas’s complaints on settlements as a red herring, meant to distract the international community from Palestinian terrorism. The Netanyahu-Abbas relationship resembles a vicious circle where nothing gets done and the actions of one lead to equally destabilizing and unproductive actions of the other.

With Abbas’s interview last week, however, we may finally be witnessing an attempt by the Palestinians to escape a Middle East conflict that can best be described as a sinking crater. When Abbas refers to Netanyahu as “the partner” for peace, the prime minister’s office would be wise to listen and take advantage of the compliment by sending some equally constructive words back to Ramallah. Or, better yet, Netanyahu could order his coalition government to curb the exponentially high rate of home demolitions that occurred over the first three months of this year. For the Israelis, temporarily pausing demolitions of illegal Palestinian structures would be more politically palatable than another moratorium on all settlement building. And if the Israelis do indeed show good faith, the Palestinians should be required to show some good faith of their own by refraining from any further attempts in the Security Council to internationalize a problem that can only be tackled by both parties directly.

Words mean something in diplomacy. If the Israelis and Palestinians can’t get themselves to authorize confidence-building measures to improve the atmosphere, maybe they can muster the words to do so.

Daniel R. DePetris is an analyst at Wikistrat, Inc., a geostrategic consulting firm and a freelance researcher. He has also written for CNN.com, Small Wars Journal and the Diplomat.

Image: Kremlin.ru

Pages

No, the Libya Intervention Wasn't a Humanitarian Success

The Skeptics

At its core, the reason why Netanyahu and Abbas don’t get along very much is because both men find it difficult to back down from their principles. For Netanyahu, the notion that the Palestinians would refuse to label Israel as a Jewish state is incomprehensible; for Abbas, caving on this demand is politically infeasible and would make the Palestinian Authority an accomplice to second-class citizenship for Palestinians living within Israel’s internationally recognized borders. On settlements, Abbas finds it hard to fathom why Netanyahu cannot see the bigger picture—that retaining Israel’s settlement blocs and building new ones means the death of the two-state solution as we all know it. Meanwhile, Netanyahu views Abbas’s complaints on settlements as a red herring, meant to distract the international community from Palestinian terrorism. The Netanyahu-Abbas relationship resembles a vicious circle where nothing gets done and the actions of one lead to equally destabilizing and unproductive actions of the other.

With Abbas’s interview last week, however, we may finally be witnessing an attempt by the Palestinians to escape a Middle East conflict that can best be described as a sinking crater. When Abbas refers to Netanyahu as “the partner” for peace, the prime minister’s office would be wise to listen and take advantage of the compliment by sending some equally constructive words back to Ramallah. Or, better yet, Netanyahu could order his coalition government to curb the exponentially high rate of home demolitions that occurred over the first three months of this year. For the Israelis, temporarily pausing demolitions of illegal Palestinian structures would be more politically palatable than another moratorium on all settlement building. And if the Israelis do indeed show good faith, the Palestinians should be required to show some good faith of their own by refraining from any further attempts in the Security Council to internationalize a problem that can only be tackled by both parties directly.

Words mean something in diplomacy. If the Israelis and Palestinians can’t get themselves to authorize confidence-building measures to improve the atmosphere, maybe they can muster the words to do so.

Daniel R. DePetris is an analyst at Wikistrat, Inc., a geostrategic consulting firm and a freelance researcher. He has also written for CNN.com, Small Wars Journal and the Diplomat.

Image: Kremlin.ru

Pages

Can America End Its War in the Greater Middle East?

The Skeptics

At its core, the reason why Netanyahu and Abbas don’t get along very much is because both men find it difficult to back down from their principles. For Netanyahu, the notion that the Palestinians would refuse to label Israel as a Jewish state is incomprehensible; for Abbas, caving on this demand is politically infeasible and would make the Palestinian Authority an accomplice to second-class citizenship for Palestinians living within Israel’s internationally recognized borders. On settlements, Abbas finds it hard to fathom why Netanyahu cannot see the bigger picture—that retaining Israel’s settlement blocs and building new ones means the death of the two-state solution as we all know it. Meanwhile, Netanyahu views Abbas’s complaints on settlements as a red herring, meant to distract the international community from Palestinian terrorism. The Netanyahu-Abbas relationship resembles a vicious circle where nothing gets done and the actions of one lead to equally destabilizing and unproductive actions of the other.

With Abbas’s interview last week, however, we may finally be witnessing an attempt by the Palestinians to escape a Middle East conflict that can best be described as a sinking crater. When Abbas refers to Netanyahu as “the partner” for peace, the prime minister’s office would be wise to listen and take advantage of the compliment by sending some equally constructive words back to Ramallah. Or, better yet, Netanyahu could order his coalition government to curb the exponentially high rate of home demolitions that occurred over the first three months of this year. For the Israelis, temporarily pausing demolitions of illegal Palestinian structures would be more politically palatable than another moratorium on all settlement building. And if the Israelis do indeed show good faith, the Palestinians should be required to show some good faith of their own by refraining from any further attempts in the Security Council to internationalize a problem that can only be tackled by both parties directly.

Words mean something in diplomacy. If the Israelis and Palestinians can’t get themselves to authorize confidence-building measures to improve the atmosphere, maybe they can muster the words to do so.

Daniel R. DePetris is an analyst at Wikistrat, Inc., a geostrategic consulting firm and a freelance researcher. He has also written for CNN.com, Small Wars Journal and the Diplomat.

Image: Kremlin.ru

Pages

Pages