A Palestinian Partner

Jeremy Ben-Ami recounts his dinner with Mahmoud Abbas and concludes:

Finally, he quoted back to the group the old adage that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. While that may have been true about the Palestinians at one time, he said, today it’s the Israelis who are missing the opportunity — not simply for a two-state solution but for comprehensive peace under the Arab Peace Initiative.

I think he is right.

Last night said clearly to me that there is a partner for peace. Now the question is whether there are two.


Now of course one can doubt this. The Arab Peace Initiative was both a bold gesture and a bit cagily worded. Abbas wants the right things, but it’s not clear he can deliver them. A bold move toward peace and a serious effort to explore the Arab Initiative rather than dismiss it might fail. But it might not! And waiting around for absolute security isn’t going to work. But most of all, if you genuinely believe that Israel doesn’t need settlements on the far side of the Green Line then taking steps toward peace doesn’t really entail giving anything up.