A long time ago I decided not to “do” the Middle East, and although I’ve been afflicted with Iranian matters over the years, I have generally stayed away from the Arab-Israeli thing. There is no shortage of smart people who deal with it; I don’t really know the history of the region; and I don’t speak or read any of the languages. My one insight into Israeli matters has to do with bridge (the card game). Back in the seventies I coached their national team for a year (with splendid results, so I retired before I could screw up).
But I do know about Iran, and I know that the Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah have a lot to say about the Palestinian groups. Both Hamas and Fatah are funded, armed, and trained by the mullahs and their creatures. On many occasions Iran has exercised a veto, most recently–according to Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas–wrecking a “unity” plan for a single Palestinian position in talks with Israel. Abbas said that
“Iran doesn’t want Hamas to sign the Cairo reconciliation document…” Abbas said Hamas objected to signing an Egyptian-brokered deal with Fatah because of opposition from Teheran, and argued that the Palestinians should be “free from Iranian tutelage.”
I draw a simple conclusion from this sort of thing: it’s impossible to “solve” the Arab-Israeli thing so long as the mullahs rule in Tehran. They have too much control over the Palestinians, and they don’t want peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Ergo, the endless kabuki dances, the quartets, the international conferences, the endless schemes, the perpetual negotiations, all that and more, are totally beside the point. You have to “do” Iran first. And the only happy way to do that is to support the Iranian people against the evil regime, and get a government in Tehran that wants to live in peace with its neighbors.
You want to make progress in the “peace process?” Work for a free Iran.