Barring unexpected developments, even optimistic observers see the current Israeli-Palestinian deadlock persisting at least until after this year's U.S. elections. The key actors are too focused on other challenges, too skeptical of each other's intentions, and too limited by multiple constraints to engage in the kind of decisionmaking a peace agreement requires. Too much emphasis has been placed on whether the parties are at the negotiating table, and not enough on creating the conditions conducive to negotiations -- a process that requires a rigor and seriousness that do not gel so easily with political timetables and sound bites. In this Policy Note, former lead Israeli negotiator Tal Becker challenges the accepted wisdom that has led many to fall back on despair, blame, or fantasy when discussing the way forward. By recalibrating expectations, he argues, policymakers can find valuable lessons amid the rubble of past failures.
Tal Becker, a former senior policy advisor and lead negotiator for the Israeli government, is an international associate of The Washington Institute. His previous publications include the Policy Note A Coming Storm? Prospects and Implications of UN Recognition of Palestinian Statehood.