How Much Did U.S. Policymakers Learn about the Middle East in Forty Years? Some Proof

Third, Abbas' great compromise is not to seek membership as a state in more UN bodies. He won't keep that promise long and he is busy on a different diplomatic front. For example, Turkey has announced that it will send an ambassador to Palestine; Guatemala recognized a Palestinian state. Kerry only closed off one way of exploiting the PA's gain at the UN that had been achieved due to Obama Administration incompetence.

Fourth, Israel's entire experience during the 1993-2000 "peace process" era is ignored: the yielding territory to Palestinian groups brings more, not less problems; that Israeli concessions do not make it more popular or ensure that its sacrifices are accepted internationally.

Fifth, Erdogan has already rescheduled his trip to the Gaza Strip. And, if the editors only read their own newspaper they would see that Erdogan has been systematically showing that the Turkey-Israel rapprochement supposedly engineered by Obama and Kerry is a joke.

Sixth, it appears as if PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has finally been pushed out of office so the corruption (which makes it impossible to improve Palestinian living standards) and doctrinaire revolutionary ideology of Fatah can be unfettered. This behavior by the PA is a slap at the Western donors, showing that it ignores their wishes, though that doesn’t even factor into the editorial. Without Fayyad and given the battle beginning over the succession to "President" Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian decision making process is paralyzed.

Seventh, there’s no consideration of the regional situation already mentioned in the editorial. If radicalism is triumphing in Egypt and Syria; the United States can’t or won’t protect its ambassador to Libya or go after those responsible from being murdered in a client state; if Iraq is falling apart, showing that any Arab regime’s commitments cannot be expected to last; if Iran is likely to get nuclear weapons then Kerry’s piddling little game-playing is worthless. The PA is hardly going to risk "moderation" with Islamists everywhere ready to denounce such a move as treason.

Eighth, there's still the little matter of Hamas ruling the Gaza Strip. The PA cannot commit the Palestinian side in any decision. Moreover, the U.S. policy of the Bush era -- show PA prosperity while weakening Hamas so Palestinians could see the moderation pays -- was dismantled by the Obama Administration which reduced punishing Gaza to a minimum.

We have radical Islamists running Egypt, Tunisia, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, the Gaza Strip, and Turkey but on the other hand we’re working to get more investment on the West Bank!

Here are the two latest developments in the current Middle East:

The U.S. government has concluded that the Syrian regime used sarin, nerve gas, against its own people. If the rebels win they may well have that weapon. The leading forces on both sides have sworn to wipe Israel off the map.

In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood government seeks to force the retirement of lots of judges it doesn't like. If that happens -- and the judges will be replaced by Islamists who are now judging on the basis of a Sharia-compliant constitution -- there will be no remaining institutional barriers against the Brotherhood regime doing what it wants.

Back to the editorial which concludes:

“These measures could serve to ease tensions [tensions continually raised by the Palestinian leadership whenever it wants to get something—BR], make life better for Palestinians [the newspaper would be better advised to consider why the last effort to make life better for Palestinians has just collapsed—BR] and lay the groundwork for a day when serious negotiations about Palestinian statehood will be possible [and why isn’t it possible now? How about the assumptions you refuse to examine about why there isn’t peace—BR]. If that is the aim, Mr. Kerry’s diplomacy could prove worthwhile.”

There is a curious error in the last sentence. Who cares what the “aim” of Kerry’s diplomacy is? Good intentions are not a measure of results. We are just seeing the same formula that has failed repeatedly in the past being once more mindlessly applied.

So in many ways the conventional wisdom has not progressed in 40 years.

It is often forbidden to consider that the lack of peace is due to the Arab side.

It is often forbidden that given regional and Palestinian political conditions Israel's policy response is very rational.

It is often forbidden to consider that diplomatic efforts will not bring progress.

It is often forbidden to conclude that the region is become a worse and more dangerous place.

And it is often forbidden to consider that -- although this editorial goes as close as any mass media organ dares -- there just isn’t going to be formal Israel-Palestinian peace for a long time to come.

If you are interested in reading more about the Arab-Israeli conflict, current regional situation you're welcome to read my book Tragedy of the Middle East online or download it for free.

If you are interested in reading more about the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, you're welcome to read my book The Arab States and the Palestine Conflict online or download it for free.