The Future American Role in the Israel-Palestine Conflict
'For the Record' No. 300 (21 August 2008)
In the past 60 years, few international issues have commanded more attention from American president, than the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Ambassador Philip Wilcox, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, discussed the possible strategies for the next U.S. administration's involvement in the ongoing conflict in addition to the role played by the U.S. in the past.
17 July 2008
Ambassador Philip Wilcox:
Thank you, Ahmed, and thank you to the Palestine Center for inviting me and thank you for coming. The summer intern lecture series that the interns have organized is terrific. So, I compliment you and appreciate being included.
subject that I'm going to address is well known
to all of you. I was asked to predict what the
next administration is going to do by way of
policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
I can't do that; I am not a prophet. Like all
of you, I have hopes and I will explain those
toward the end of my talk. But there is no way
of telling what the [U.S. Senator John] McCain
administration if he's elected or the [U.S.
Senator Barack] Obama administration would do.
They have both been impeccably correct,
politically correct in the public comments
about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I hope
that perhaps they have deeper and more serious
thoughts about the issue which they will reveal
once they're elected. It's not uncommon for
American political candidates to recite all the
usual bromides about this conflict while
running for office and when they come to
office, shift gears and adopt different
Well, what I will do is to discuss the harm that this ongoing conflict does to American relations. I'd like to dwell on American policies in the past towards the conflict and see if I could offer some thoughts on why our government has behaved the way it has over these many years. And I will be so bold as to suggest what I think the next administration should do.
There is no doubt that the status quo as this conflict continues to fester and in some ways continues to deepen is really dangerous to American national interest. The perception that the United States supports exclusively Israel and refers to Israeli policies has generated great ill-will, hostility and anger throughout the Arab and Muslim world. The view is that the United States lavishes on conditional aid and support for Israel without regard to Arab Palestinian equities; that it protects the state of Israel in the United Nations and other international bodies; that it provides Israel with the latest military top technology to preserve what the U.S. calls Israel's qualitative military edge. The Palestinians and the Arabs, who have a very strong sense of history, equate the encounter of Palestinians with Israel with a really long history of what they see as Western domination and colonialism. It evokes a sense of hurt, humiliation and defeat, and this generates anger and hostility.
That is not to say that the Arab or Palestinian people are enemies of the United States. There is considerable will, friendship, admiration for the United States and the American people, but there is very strong anger and opposition to American policies. And although we have maintained close relations with many traditional, conservative governments, that's not enough for those governments to promote good will, good feelings toward American policy on the part of their people, even though most of them are not, in our terms, democratic governments. This hostility is, of course I need not remind you, exploited by our enemies, by radical groups in the region like al-Qaeda, who are capable of terrible violence. Among the ordinary people who do not support violence or terrorism, it tends to engender some sympathy for our adversaries, for these groups, and it makes it harder for their governments and for our governments to try to mobilize majorities against the use of violence and terrorism.
Back in the Cold War era, we all talked about winning the hearts and minds of people around the world as we faced the Soviet adversary. That is a challenge for us in the Middle East as well, and we have failed to meet that challenge. Indeed, we are losing the hearts and minds of the populous; the credibility of the United States, which in our own self image we see ourselves as the standard-the protector of justice, freedom and human rights. Yet, our performance in dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has undermined our reputation for supporting those principles and created charges of hypocrisy.
Well, let's look at the record of the United States. It is, I'm sorry to say, a record of, in large part, failure. Now, there have been some exceptions to that, but by in large, our government/governments have not adequately come to grips with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and used our resources, our moral support and our diplomacy on behalf of a solution. Now, there were some exceptions.
In 1956, when the British and the French and the Israelis invaded Egypt, General Eisenhower, [late U.S.] President [Dwight D.] Eisenhower, leaned very hard on our allies, the British and the French and on Israel, to withdraw, and they did. In 1967, after the Six-Day War, the United States belatedly intervened to encourage the adoption of Resolution 242, the famous "Land for Peace" Resolution in the U.N.; we did not engage adequately in my view. Earlier, we might have been able to hit off the conflict, fateful conflict, because it led to the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, but we were preoccupied with the Vietnam War at that time. In 1974, after the Kippur War, [former U.S. Secretary of State] Henry Kissinger ably negotiated the disengagement agreement and on the Golan Heights. And during the [former U.S President Jimmy] Carter era, President Carter valiantly and energetically helped to broker the historic peace between Israel and Egypt-the greatest Arab state and Israel's most powerful adversary. In 1982, might have been 1983, [late U.S.] Ambassador Phillip Habib worked very hard and successfully to persuade the Israelis to withdraw from Beirut and to begin their retreat to the South, and [he] supported [late Palestinian President] Yasser Arafat and his PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization] forces with the safe passage arrangements to Tunis.
The United States government over very, very strong opposition from the state of Israel and friendly lobbies here in Washington did manage a very large sale of AWACS, aerial surveillance aircraft, to Saudi Arabia in the eighties. When the U.S. was triumphant in the first Gulf War, the Soviet Union had forewarned [former U.S.] President George H.W. Bush, and his brilliant [former U.S] Secretary of State General [James] Baker saw an opportunity for the U.S. to engage finally in serious diplomacy with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They got a good start on it. Jim Baker worked very hard, leaning hard on both the Israelis and the Palestinians to sit down and talk to each other, and they did at the Madrid Conference. Alas, the elections were looming in the U.S.; Baker was withdrawn and was asked to go back to the White House to run President Bush's presidential campaign and so that diplomacy was not sustained.
But in the course of that period, the secretary of state and the president did demonstrate that the U.S. could be effective. It intervened quiet energetically to halt long guarantees to Israel unless Israeli settlements were frozen. That initiative, unfortunately, lapsed, but it did work. Perhaps, it was one of the most vivid examples of the success and the potential of American diplomacy; then was that the prime minister of Israel, who had resolutely opposed the whole idea of meeting with the Palestinians or negotiating for peace, was voted out of office in 1993, perhaps it was 1992. And [former Israeli prime Minister] Yitzhak Shamir, who had made a historical shift, in his view, towards the conflict, was voted in. The lesson we can draw from that is that if an American president and secretary of state have a wise policy that is emphatically in the interest of peace of both Israelis and Palestinians, the Israeli public will take that very seriously and will not be pleased if their government tries to defy the United States as Shamir did and they voted him out of office.
Otherwise, our policy has been spasmodic. We have increasingly aligned ourselves with Israeli government policy over the last 25 years. We have tilted repeatedly toward the Israeli government. We have created, indeed, a kind of informal quasi alliance with Israel, which is almost unique in the annals of American diplomacy. Some examples of that. Way back in the 1960s, [late U.S.] President [John F.] Kennedy and then [late U.S.] President [Lyndon B.] Johnson acquiesced in the Israeli nuclear program and Israel's decision not to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which was one of the principles of the Kennedy foreign policy. The United States after the 1967 War became the principle arm supplier to Israel, and we adopted this policy of qualitative edge to ensure Israel's military superiority. The purpose of that was a logical one; it was, as we used to say when I was in the State Department, this would give Israel the confidence, the assurance and the sense of security so that it would make peace. It did not succeed, and one can argue that it only gave a kind of full sense of assurance and security to Israel and gave them the impression that they could do whatever they wished with respect to the Palestinians.
One of those serious lapses, failures in our policy toward the conflict came during the [late U.S. President Ronald] Reagan administration when the U.S. abandoned its long held policy towards settlements and the Fourth Geneva Convention-the convention which, as you know, forbids a nation whose army is victorious in war from transferring its citizens into the occupied territory of the defeated neighbor. The department of state legal advisor, reflecting the almost-universal views of legal experts around the world, wrote a famous opinion in the Carter era confirming that the Israeli settlements were a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Unfortunately, President Reagan dropped that policy in a press conference where there may have been a question planted. He said in answer to a question, where they illegal, "No, I don't think they're illegal." And that was the end of a very important policy which disarmed the United States from the use of this powerful, legal principle.
Over this long struggle, it took the United States a long time to recognize the centrality of the Palestinian conflict. Repeatedly, we would see this as the Arab-Israeli conflict that essentially was a conflict between the Arab States and Israel. To be sure, it was for many, many years, but we realized belatedly that the core of this conflict was the Palestinian issue. For years, we presumed the illusion that the solution to the problem of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and East Jerusalem was not a Palestinian state or the recognition of Palestinian self-determination. We thought that Jordan would be the successor state and would come back to the West Bank, indeed even to Gaza where Jordan had never been and to East Jerusalem. Now admittedly, that notion in the early days was encouraged by the Hashemite Kingdom. But in 1987, to our surprise, the king said, "I wash Jordan's hand of the Palestinian conflict. This is now between Israel and Palestine." That took us by surprise. We did not take that entirely seriously; I remember that vividly.
The phenomenon of terrorism has frightened and clouded the U.S. perspective on the Palestinian issue. And for many years, we saw Palestinian terrorism not as an ugly symptom of a conflict, a reaction of a weak and dispossessed people toward occupation and injustice, we saw it as pure evil and we tended to identify Arafat, the PLO and the Palestinians as terrorists or simply as refugees. We have continued to misunderstand the meaning and roots of terrorism to this day.
The [former U.S. President Bill] Clinton administration did indeed try harder. By then, there had been a breakthrough at Madrid. The Israelis and Palestinians had at least met and begun to talk to each other. The Clinton administration, however, did not sustain that dialogue or support it, but the Israelis and Palestinians by then had understood that something good was happening here. So, they continued it, after the Madrid talks began to founder, with the secret Oslo talks. We were absent; we didn't even know about the Oslo talks and were a bit surprised and indeed a little bit miffed when we realized that the Israelis and Palestinians have worked secretly on their own to reach what is known as the Oslo Declaration of Principles in 1993. Nevertheless, we embraced it. Clinton had the principals shake hands on the White House lawn. I remember it vividly, I thought and we thought that this was perhaps the beginning of the end. It did not work. It was a failure. It ended in total collapse and terrible violence, and the U.S. did not act as it might have, should have, at that time, and could have to make it work.
Well, we have, and it's remarkable, throughout this long and tortured conflict never adopted a clear American policy on the elements of the conflict, except to finally come to the realization that it was a conflict between two societies, two national movements and that there had to be two states as a solution. But we've never defined what a two-state solution means. We've never offered American views on where the border should be drawn. We have scrupulously avoided any comment on Jerusalem, which most people regard as the very heart of the conflict. We've not offered our views on settlements-which settlements should go, which should stay, should they all go. And we have been very cautious about an American policy. That's very curious because our interests are at stake. On other conflicts of this kind, it's common for the United States to adopt its own policy and try to promote that, but we've never done so. Why is this? Why have we been so cautious? Why have we been so differential to Israeli views?
During the Oslo negotiations, as you know, we did not mediate; our role was to pass messages back and forth, occasionally to provide venues and to exhort the parties to work harder. But we did not perform the classic role, which we should have performed, as a mediator-to define the gaps between the parties and look for ways to bridge those gaps by offering American views. Madeline Albright who was the [U.S.] Secretary of State at that time once said, "It's up to the parties. How can we want peace more than the Israelis and the Palestinians themselves?" I think that was a copout. Of course, we have our own interest. Our interest in policy toward this conflict is not just a function of Israeli policy or Palestinian policy. We need an American policy. And we have alas never had a well-defined American policy except to hope and to cajole and to exhort. Now, I did make one exception. To his credit, [U.S. President] George W. Bush has come out very clearly about the need for a Palestinian state. Even Bill Clinton didn't do that until the very end. After the collapse of the Camp David Summit, Bill Clinton came up with his own, list of American policies called the Clinton Parameters, but those were short-lived. He said they were off the table if they weren't accepted promptly, and they were not accepted promptly. Both Israel and Palestine offered reservations to those Clinton Parameters, and Clinton was out of office by then. Ariel Sharon was elected as the Israeli prime minister.
Well, why? Why have we not behaved more resolutely? One explanation over the years has been that Israel, with its extraordinarily capable armed force, its nuclear weapons, serves as a strategic partner for American interest in the Middle East. This idea was particularly strong during the Cold War and it was deeply held by many senior American officials that the Soviet Union presented a grave threat to the oil fields of the Middle East and in the competition for the hearts and minds of the Arab people. There was a military dimension here, and that Israel was an ideal military ally of the U.S. toward that day when the mighty Soviet armies would invade the Middle East. That was a far-fetched notion. There was never any evidence that the Soviets aspired to invade the Middle East, but there were people in Washington who genuinely believed the that and naturally the government of Israel nurtured that theory. During that time, there was a vast increase in military assistance and strategic military cooperation between the United States and Israeli armed forces.
The event of the last two decades established that in a time of crisis and war in the region, Israel could not and would not be a strategic American ally. During the first Gulf War, Israel was the victim of terror attacks by Iraqi scud missiles. I was there at the time, and it was not pleasant. The Israelis were deeply afraid that these missiles might ultimately carry chemical or biological weapons. And many in the Israeli armed forces say that, "It is in our tradition to preserve our reputation for strength and deterrence to retaliate." The U.S. government went to the Israelis and said, "No, you can't do that because if you retaliate, we are not going to be able to mobilize the Arab nations to support us and other coalition partners in this war." And that is the reality. So, the whole idea of strategic cooperation was not a sound one.
Now, there's a strong ideological element of our strong support for Israeli policy, and that is that Israel is, as often said, the only democracy in the Middle East, and naturally Americans cling to other nations who are democracies. Israel is a democracy. It's far from a perfect democracy, but that's been a powerful theme in our support for Israel. There have been people in our government who have supported the notion of the right wing community in Israel-that Israel has a right to all of the land including the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Now, these people have been a minority. But at times, they've been in very powerful positions in Washington, and that has been a factor in our policy as well. And I mention again the problem of terrorism; we have traditionally, never having experienced international terrorism on our shores until the 1990s and 9/11, seen it as a phenomenon of pure evil. We've not been able to recognize that while it is pure evil, it's also a result of conflict. And terrorism happens when there are no political or diplomatic institutions or process or method to resolve the conflict. The government of Israel has promoted the idea that Palestinian terrorism is simply an expression of hatred of Israel and the Jewish people, and many people in Israel believe that. Many Americans believe that too. And it has been hard for us to come to recognize that terrorism, as ugly and unacceptable-I emphasize it is unacceptable-it is what happens in a situation like this where there is no political way, there's no hope. And it has happened throughout history.
Now, you may ask, isn't really the heart of this U.S. policy a product of the whole Israel lobby? Isn't it true that our leaders would have done the right thing had it not been for well-organized, well-financed lobbies in Washington whose mission was to support the use of the government of Israel? That view was popularized and documented in the famous [Stephen] Walt [and John] Mearsheimer book, The Israel Lobby. There the implication of the book is that we would've done the right thing had it not been for the lobby. Well, it's an interesting book. Much of what they say is true, but I think it's a flawed thesis. American presidents have shown from time to time that they can act in this conflict if they want to, and that no lobby is going to stop them. And that can still happen. To be sure, the Congress is more susceptible to the efforts of American Jewish groups whose mission is to protect Israel, right or wrong. But the president is more immune to this, and in our country, the president makes our foreign policy and implements it. And when the president has a policy that is supported by the public and it is a wise policy, generally, the American public has followed the lead of the president and so has the Congress. So, I do not believe that our government, flawed as it is, is permanently paralyzed by this so called "Israel Lobby."
Remember also that Mearsheimer and Walt did not make this clear enough. It is not just those powerful, well-financed and extremely dedicated, capable lobbies that support the Israeli government policy and try to prevent any U.S. policies which differ from it. There are other Jewish lobbies in the United States, which are loyal to Israel, that support the Jewish state of Israel but which tenuously oppose Israeli policy in the interest of the United States and in the interest of Israel. And these groups are beginning to coalesce, to grow in numbers, in strength and in financial weight, and that's a very good thing. Mearsheimer and Walt, for example, their thesis was that it was Israel and its right wing lobby friends in the U.S. who got the U.S. involved in the war in Iraq. I don't believe that. I think we had other motives, far more compelling than to support Israel's interest.
Well, another reason for this American difference to Israeli policy is a strong fear among the American-Jewish community that solidarity among Jews is necessary to protect the community and the American Jewish community. Jews everywhere have very long memories, and they remember vividly 2,000 years of anti-Semitism, of Christian-Western abuse of the Jewish people. And American Jews like Jews everywhere have supported Israel as a refuge for the Jewish people and are very cautious about supporting criticism of Israel for fear that it might bring the wrong kind of criticism, that it might bring the anti-Semites back out of the woodwork. I think the U.S. has a pretty good record of fighting against anti-Semitism. But it's not gone; it's still here.
There's also among the Jewish leadership-I don't claim to be an expert on this-but I sense that there's a fear among Jewish religious leaders of losing the community to assimilation, to the blandishments of secular life in the United States. And their looking for ways to maintain allegiance to the Jewish identity and support for Israel has been one of the themes that has been used. But too often it is unconditional support but not always. There is a very large progressive, liberal element in the American Jewish community that, as I said, supports Israel, regards themselves as Zionists but doesn't like Israeli policy and realizes that it's bad for Israel and it's bad for the United States. Well, those religious leaders who have promoted Israel sometimes as a kind of substitute for religion have also taught that the Holocaust is the central event in Jewish life. And there have been analogies to the Holocaust and what might happen to Israel in the Middle East if it doesn't remain strong and successful.
Now, as I say, this is a very mixed picture because there are groups like Americans for Peace Now, Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, a West Coast based group called the Jewish Voice for Peace. There is a new Jewish lobby called the J Street group, which is gathering strength, raising money, supporting political candidates. So, there's a ferment inside the American Jewish community, which is all to the good. And it may indeed produce a critical mass that while supporting Israel and supporting strong U.S.-Israeli relations, speak out against policies that they think are harmful to Israel and the U.S. This community, for all I know and I like to believe, this may well be a kind of silent majority in the American Jewish community.
Well, I should mention the
Christian evangelical community, also a
powerful element in our politics. But there is
a counter-movement. Our system has ways, has a
kind of genius of producing reactions against
this extremism. There is a counter movement in
the American evangelical community, which
supports Israel but which is strong opposed to
the right wing evangelical view that Israel can
do no wrong and that the U.S. must support
Israel expansionist policies in the West Bank
and Gaza because that will bring forth the
second coming of Jesus. There are also liberal
peace movements throughout the Catholic and
Protestant American Christian communities. You
can see even John McCain backing away from a
person who claimed to be his ally, Pastor John
Well, more important that any of this-money, lobbies-is history and culture. The United States for most of its life has seen itself as a Judeo-Christian nation. Now, that's changing. The Muslim American community is growing and we're a much more diverse nation than we used to be. But, the Bible-the legends of the Holy Land, the Old Testament-as the foundation for Christianity is a very, very powerful, cultural, emotional, religious impact on the American people, and that draws people to Israel. There's just a very strong resonance between our country and Israel because of this Biblical, religious legacy.
There also has been an effort to try to weave together the American and Israeli narratives to immigrant societies settled by people fleeing from persecution to societies which obtained wild nations turning the desert green. Two nations that have found hostile indigenous native people and made war against them in order to win freedom and the refuge for themselves. This is very powerful stuff, and this is all very much part of the legends and the myths of the U.S.-Israel relationship. And it's not all myth, although it's certainly been exaggerated and distorted. Maybe even more important is the feeling of remorse and moral debt among the American people for the Jewish people because of the understanding, and it's a relatively new understanding, of what the Christians did to the Jews historically and what happened to the Jewish people in the Nazi era and the Holocaust. This created a huge and permanent sense of sympathy for Israel and for the Jewish people. And it has made Americans cautious about being too critical of Israel-very, very powerful.
Finally, there is a deep ignorance in our country about the Arab world, about Islam, whereas we see Israel as part of our experience, our history and our culture. And I'm sorry to say, there's not only ignorance; there's a fair level of bigotry and Islamophobia in this country, which is still alive. That's another reason why we have difficulty as a people of dealing with this issue. We did not and have not even yet grasped the full weight of the Palestinian narrative-that the Palestinians are also a victim of tragic history. We have been so drawn to the drama of Jewish history that we have not recognized that there is a parallel narrative which also deserves our compassion and support of the Palestinian victimization and suffering.
A persistent theme in our diplomacy these days is that there can't be peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians until the violence stops. All of our plans and roadmaps and diplomacy have focused on the need for the Palestinians to create a strong security force so they can stop Palestinian violence. It does not acknowledge that Palestinian violence is a product of a very harsh occupation, an onerous policy of settlements and house demolitions and checkpoints, which have done terrible harm to the Palestinian society, creating an environment in which violence is almost inevitable. To assume that unless there is a reciprocal, parallel process leading toward the end of the occupation, the dismantlement of settlements and checkpoints and liberation for the Palestinians, it's most unlikely that the Palestinian leadership is going to create a strong security force to protect the Israelis. So, the whole notion of "security first" is not a sound one. Security is absolutely important and Palestinians will not win liberation unless it is clear that they will be safe and that there will be real peace. But to expect that there will be an end to all violence and total security before Israel turns to making concessions of its own is naive.
Well, let's look ahead. Is there any future to the Annapolis process? The best case we can make is that there might just be some kind of an outline that the two sides will come up with to hand on to the next American administration. They don't even have that now, and what one hears is that this process is not thriving. The Obama and McCain campaigns have said nothing about their real intentions. But what should be done and what can be done? I think we need to stop wringing our hands about how impossible this is. It's not impossible. Even this massive advance of settlements, these facts on the ground, in my view are reversible. The French got out of Algeria after a 150 some years there. Hundreds of thousands of French colons went back to France. Bricks and mortar do not determine history. The Israeli settlement adventure is so audacious and, in the end, so impossible that the Israeli public is beginning to realize that, even though it hasn't fully dawned on our own leaders. So, it is a reversible situation.
People say, "Well, it's so complicated what should we do?" It's not that complicated, and the Israelis and Palestinians themselves for the last 20 years have been talking about what to do-about settlements, refugees, Jerusalem, borders and security. The Oslo peace process was not a complete rush-out because there were huge conceptual changes and conversions during that period that continued even after Camp David collapsed with the Clinton Parameters, with the Taba talks and two years later when a group of distinguished Palestinians and Israelis, many of them had been involved in official talks, came up with the Geneva Accords, which is a blueprint, a virtual peace agreement. So, the answers to these problems don't have to be invented. They're there. Now, I'm not saying that all the answers are there. There are still some gaps. They are substantial, but they're not so wide that they can never be resolved. What is needed is a real diplomatic process. We continue to believe it seems that the Israelis and Palestinians are going to do this by themselves. They've never been able to do it by themselves. They have failed repeatedly because there is such a huge imbalance of power between these two societies, moreover, because the Palestinians are largely occupied by the Israelis. To make matters worse, the Palestinians are now deeply divided between Hamas and Fatah, Gaza and the West Bank-a division which, I'm sorry to say, we have fostered and promoted in an effort to undermine Hamas.
So, the answers are there for the asking. But Israel and Palestine are unlikely to be able to do it themselves. They have tried. The public opinion polls in both societies show that both peoples want peace, that both peoples indeed would support these solutions that are spilled out in various documents and agreements. But they can't do it. They don't believe it's possible. They are in utter despair-the Israelis because of the terrible Palestinian suicide terrorism during the second intifada; the Palestinians because of the inexorable, apparent growth of settlements and the very, very harsh and brutal Israeli military presence. They lost hope, and the only party that can restore hope is the United States. The psychological element is tremendously important. Rather than waiting for them to do it themselves, there is every evidence that they can't. If we were to intervene with an American initiative spelling out in some detail our view of what needs to be done to preserve Israel as a safe, democratic Jewish state and a Palestinian state that is contiguous, that is viable, that is free of settlements and that has its capital in East Jerusalem, I think that would have a huge impact on the Israeli and Palestinian public. If it were presented with sympathy and compassion, respect for both sides; if we pointed out that this is the only way out for both of these people's from this conflict, I think they would see the wisdom of it, and I think they would rally to support the United States.
Now, to be sure, political
elements in both societies, the extremist
elements clinging to the view that they can win
and the other side will lose, would oppose
this. So, it would be tough. There would also
be same kind of attacks in this country. But if
the president also used the same kind of
diplomacy to cultivate a constituency of base
in this country among the Jewish, Christian,
Arab American communities, I think this country
would also rally to that kind of leadership.
Now, that may sound idealistic and naive.
Politicians who are practitioners know more
about these things than I do, but I think it
would work. It might not work, but is there any
other way? I don't think so. And if we decide
that it's simply too tough that we can't do it,
I predict that this conflict will get deeper
and uglier and uglier, and our own national
security interests will continue to
Ambassador Philip Wilcox is president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace and former chief of mission and U.S. consul general in Jerusalem.
This "For the Record" transcript may be used without permission but with proper attribution to The Palestine Center. The speaker's views do not necessarily reflect the views of The Jerusalem Fund.
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