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John Hughes

An Israel in trouble makes a peace deal more urgent

Israel faces trouble on all sides – in Egypt, Syria, from Iran, and in the Palestinian push for statehood at the United Nations. These challenges make a peace agreement on a two-state solution more urgent than ever.

By John Hughes / September 16, 2011

If the dramatic upheaval taking place throughout the Arab world is to have a constructive outcome, a critical necessity is peace between Arabs and Israelis. On this issue, the world is now at crunch time.

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The choice is clear: New descent into the senseless antagonism and violence that has bedeviled the Arab- Israeli relationship for decades, or a two-state agreement providing security for Israel and a sovereign homeland for Palestinians.

The prospects are not great. As one Arab nation after another is wrestling with the emergence from dictatorship into freedom, Israel, the most democratic country in the region, is confronted by an unenviable series of developments:

1. Egypt after Hosni Mubarak is seeing a surge of anti-Israel clamor, in which mobs have sacked the Israeli Embassy in Cairo and sent its diplomats fleeing.

2. Hamas, the extremist Palestinian organization that already holds sway in Gaza, has been making inroads in the West Bank, run by the more moderate Fatah.

3. The United States, Israel’s staunchest ally, risks Arab isolation because of its opposition to the Palestinian push for statehood at the United Nations. The US says it will veto any attempt for full recognition of Palestine through the UN Security Council. Washington also objects to a possible vote by the UN General Assembly, which would likely approve a nonvoting “observer” status for Palestine.

4. Syria, whose negotiation over the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights would be a critical part of any peace agreement, is in turmoil and its leadership is in question. It can hardly, at present, be seen as a responsible participant in discussions with Israel.


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