The Center for American Progress has published an interview with Marwan Muasher, former Jordanian foreign minister and current vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Most of the interview focuses on the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative and its connection to regional stability, but I thought this was a telling passage.
What is your sense of possibility [of successful Israeli-Palestinian negotiation] in the coming months?
I think the bilateral track on its own has little chance of arriving at a successful conclusion, simply because each side does not have what the other side wants. What I explained before is that there are now regional elements that cannot be addressed through a Palestinian-Israeli track alone; the question of Hamas, the question of Hezbollah, the question of the relationship with Iran, the question of Syria’s role, cannot all be addressed through just a separate peace agreement. Even if they successfully arrive at an agreement, there is no way for that agreement to stick without the support of the whole Palestinian population and therefore without the inclusion of Hamas. There are elements such as what you do about the refugee issue, what you do about East Jerusalem, where I believe the compromises will have to be met through a regional settlement. Neither the Israelis, nor the Palestinians would be able to make such compromises if the reward is only a separate Palestinian-Israeli agreement.
Do you imagine reviving the multilateral groups?
No. I don’t mean that we need to have multilateral negotiations taking place. I think the negotiations can still be on the Palestinian-Israeli front—I would add to that a Syrian-Israeli track. But I think that some understanding of the end game has to be arrived at with the Arab states. So that any agreement on the Palestinian-Israeli front would gain the support of Arab states and would not blame the Palestinians for any compromises made.
Catch the full interview at the Center for American Progress.