Middle East milestone

December 1991
National Review;12/16/1991, Vol. 43 Issue 23, p17
This article discusses the success of the George Bush Administration in arranging bilateral talks between the Israelis and Palestinians as of December 1991. As a direct result of U.S. success in the Gulf War and the cold war, the strategic Middle East, festering for generations, is closer to peace than ever before. The Administration's great success was to have put together the long-sought negotiation between Israelis and Palestinians. The breakthrough was twofold--a solution to the knotty problem of Palestinian representation and a realistic understanding on the subject matter for negotiation. At Madrid, the momentum behind this Israeli-Palestinian negotiation was so strong that the Palestinians were willing to stand up to Syrian pressures--which is the other interesting story from this conference. No one imagines that the process will be easy from here on out. The provisional success at Madrid, as in the past, has been due not only to U.S. power but also to the country's unique reputation for fairness and decency. There is no room for one-sided pressures or for putting at risk the ultimate safety of an ally that has relied on it. Indeed, such a strategy would only risk misleading the Arab players whose newfound realism is the true source of hope.


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