The old Middle East peace process is dead: The Israeli-Palestinian dispute no longer dominates the regional agenda. But the geopolitical changes that precipitated the demise offer the Biden administration an opportunity for a fresh approach to ending the conflict.
The Israeli-Palestinian peace process was once the greatest diplomatic show on earth. From George H.W. Bush’s sponsorship of the Madrid Conference through President Trump’s “Deal of the Century,” every U.S. president in modern history invested time, treasure and political capital in the search for Middle East peace. No diplomatic effort in U.S. history has been as high-profile, sustained or intense. Liberal, conservative, Republican and Democratic presidents all hoped to snare the ultimate diplomatic trophy—and the Nobel Peace Prize that would surely come with it.
President Biden may be off to a more cautious start, but in this regard he is accepting the new normal. Rather than appoint a high-profile special representative to jump-start comprehensive negotiations, Mr. Biden seems content to resume humanitarian and educational aid to the Palestinians and reopen diplomatic contacts. U.S. diplomats will attempt to dissuade Israel from taking steps (like dramatic settlement expansions or annexations on the West Bank) that could foreclose future peace possibilities, while looking to make the status quo less burdensome for Palestinians.
Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal