The violent uprising in the West Bank and Gaza has destroyed a status quo which had been tolerable, if not entirely comfortable, for several years. Mounting casualties injected fresh urgency into the search for a new peace process to replace one that has been stalled by differences over procedures and substance. It is not yet clear that the latest Palestinian uprising will, over time, make the conflict any more amenable to a solution. It is clear, however, that the United States has been thrust once more into the forefront of the effort to find one.
In this Policy Paper, Harvey Sicherman explores the American role in renewing the peace process. Dr. Sicherman argues that the three basic goals of U.S. policy in the Arab-Israeli arena are to deter war, to conserve the existing peace and to create the conditions for larger peace in the future. The likelihood of a breakthrough toward comprehensive peace, he claims, is slim. America’s opportunity is to use the current sense of urgency to help change the balance of risks—first and foremost through interim measures to change conditions on the ground— in favor of the peacemakers.