Israeli-Palestinian talks won’t fix the Middle East’s problems

By Ian Bremmer
July 31, 2013

On Monday, the Obama administration announced that Secretary of State John Kerry had convinced Israel and the Palestinian Authority to sit down for negotiations for the first time in three years. Coming out of Monday and Tuesday’s meetings, Kerry announced a goal of working out a comprehensive peace agreement within nine months.

Simply reviving talks at all is a highly impressive achievement; getting both sides to the table would have been impossible without Kerry’s relentless effort. But if the Obama administration thinks this will change the dynamic in the Middle East, it is mistaken for two reasons. First, the initiative is unlikely to succeed, and second, even if it did, it would have little impact on other more immediately pressing Middle East conflicts.

It’s not that pushing for an Israel-Palestine solution isn’t a valiant cause — it’s that there is a full tray of conflicts in the Middle East that exist independently from the Israel-Palestine question: the growing rifts in Egypt or Iraq, the Syrian crisis that has claimed over 100,000 lives, or Iran’s nuclear program. Even Israel and Palestine themselves prioritize many other regional concerns over making any significant progress with each other.

Don’t get me wrong — the chances of success are not zero. But no matter how legacy-defining a lasting breakthrough would be for Obama and Kerry, the odds are incredibly long. The Israeli-Palestinian peace process has started and stopped countless times before. So what are the biggest structural impediments to a deal?

Obama’s envoy, former Israeli ambassador Martin Indyk, will only be speaking with representatives of Palestinians’ Fatah party. Since Hamas’ electoral victory in 2006, the territories have been divided into two entities, with Gaza in Hamas’ hands and the West Bank under Fatah control. Fatah lacks the legitimacy at home to negotiate and later implement any final agreement with Israel; the exclusion of the more fundamentalist Hamas from the diplomatic process gives Hamas every incentive to undermine any possible deal. If we begin to see substantial progress, expect Hamas to scuttle it with a violent show of force.

Benjamin Netanyahu, buoyed by a strong economy and relative peace, has little incentive to back down during negotiations. Israel has continued its settlement expansion and flouted its borders as defined in 1967 with relative impunity. For the last decade or so, left-wing parties have been increasingly marginalized and the public has grown more disenchanted with the peace process; these trends have led to a more uncompromising center-right government that’s less interested in negotiating a settlement with the Palestinians. Recently, Israel has released prisoners and somewhat halted settlement construction in advance of the talks, but that may just be a short-term favor to Kerry that reaffirms the United States’ leverage and importance. It doesn’t suggest Netanyahu is ready to do an about face on years of policy.

The administration is well aware of the huge hurdles that an Israel-Palestine solution faces. So then why is John Kerry forging ahead regardless?

The key lies in the mistaken belief that the Israel-Palestinian conflict remains the linchpin of a dysfunctional Middle East. As the thinking goes, without fixing this issue, nothing else of deep substance can be solved. Today, this is patently untrue. Peace between the Israelis and Palestinians would not unwind the Iranian nuclear program, mend Syria’s sectarian hellscape, or put Egypt back together again. It wouldn’t keep Iraq from drifting perilously closer to civil war. The Middle East is now filled with relatively independent crises, and few of them have to do with Israel (even if Israel is subject to their effects).

A more cynical possibility? It’s more politically palatable to fail on Israel-Palestine than on anything else. As opposed to Egypt, where the United States is torn between the security benefits and secularism of the military versus the democratically-elected status of the Muslim Brotherhood, Israel-Palestine is a clearer brokerage deal where, at the least, the United States’ good intentions can’t be questioned. If Obama’s learned anything over the last two terms, it’s that low expectations are a president’s best friend — they provide room to surprise, or, if things go poorly, room to scapegoat. And there is a long and prestigious list of those who have failed on Israel-Palestine before this administration decided to attempt the feat.

In getting the Israelis and Palestinians to the table — something that was a complete non-starter at the beginning of the year — John Kerry has demonstrated his remarkable savvy as a diplomat. That’s all the more reason it’s a pity that the talks are unlikely to gain traction — and even if they did, a breakthrough deal still wouldn’t douse the conflicts that would burn on throughout the region.

This column was based in part on a transcribed phone conversation with Bremmer.

PHOTO: Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Israel’s Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (L-R) shake hands at a news conference at the end of talks at the State Department in Washington July 30, 2013. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators held their first peace talks in nearly three years on Monday in a U.S.-brokered effort that Kerry hopes will end their conflict despite deep divisions. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst


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I agree totally with your analysis, however I have a more cynical view of this machination as another opportunity to inflame the Middle East even more than what is already taking place.

Posted by blc111 | Report as abusive

If the Israelis didn’t exist, the circle-jerk-your-gun&shoot party between Egypt,Turkey,Iraq,Iran,Afghanistan,Pakis tan (back to) Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Libya etc would still be going on. Jewish people are not the problem. That exists among, we are told, those who say they are members of “The Religion of Peace”.

Posted by AbuShy | Report as abusive

Absolutely correct. The problem is US foreign policy in the M.E.

Peace with Israel will not change that policy. Anybody believing that, hasn’t been listening to the voices from Islam these past 40 years and more particularly examples from the last one thousand years.

The US bases in the GCC exist to protect the Ruling population who are a minority. The Muslim masses want their freedom and America acts in a manner to deny them that wish. That is clear everywhere in the M.E. most recently Egypt.

In the short term the Masses can be denied, but in the long term they will prevail. History has hundreds of examples of that truth. Peace with Islam, which means a change of foreign policy for the M.E., is the only path with a hope of success. Without that, a tipping point will eventually be reached and the war (Terrorism) between Islam & Christianity will grow larger and wider. Life in the West has already become intolerable after only 46 short years of terrorism. Americans do not feel safe even within their own fortified borders, as Snowden revealed.

Posted by whoisit | Report as abusive

Your comments recognition is malfunctioning. It is intermittent. Sometimes the software processes and responds correctly and sometimes it doesn’t. I’ll return and try again at some future date.

Posted by whoisit | Report as abusive

Israel’s not talking it’s too busy stealing land and resources, and murdering Palestinians.

Posted by prolibertate | Report as abusive

All the problems of the middle east is because of the Israeli Palestinian conflict! What is this guy talking about?? Syria and Iran have chosen to ally with each other because Israel is a threat to them, they have the same concerns. How do you think terrorism started? It started in Israel while the Israelies were slaughtering British soldiers! Peace must be achieved for the middle east to heal from many years of hostility.

Posted by nickol | Report as abusive

Has anyone seen video footage of a Palestinian refugee concentration camp? Israel is one of the most foul countries on the planet.

Posted by TheyLookAlike | Report as abusive

@TheyLookAlike – we have seen the Palestinian refugee camps and they are horribe, really horrible. Camps in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon where the people are treated harshly, denied of basic human rights. Alas, there are no refugee camps in Israel – all displaced Palestinians inside Israel were entirely settled and are no longer refugees for more than 50 years. Gaza’s and the West Bank so called ‘refugee camps’ are not really refugee camps. In Gaza and the West Bank, the Palestinians are living under their own elected government in their own territory.

If you call them refugees, you should also call the 800,000 Arab Jews and their many more descendents who were forcefully expelled from all Arab countries (see rce/talking/jew_refugees.html).

Posted by DrorH | Report as abusive

Kerry wants to host this talk and at the same time back
The (New) Muslum Brotherhood in Egypt.

Posted by NewsCreator | Report as abusive

Syria and Iran ally because of TINY Israel is a THREAT? What are you smoking?
Who shots from behind woman and children?
Who beheads anyone in 2013? (with dull kitchen knife! With crowds of OTHER peace loving muslims cheering it on)
Who attacks Christians just because they are CHRISTIANS?
Who hides behind woman and children?
Extream, Radicalized, Peace Loving, silent supportive Islamists.

Posted by NewsCreator | Report as abusive

The Middle East is not a mathematical equation with an elusive solution, and there is no solution to its multiple problems, as far as the eye can see.
The Middle East is a vast and extremely complex region, as some people are beginning to understand. It’s certainly not what President Woodrow Wilson and the American public had imagined after WWI, when the current maps were drawn, and current ‘nation states’ created out of thin air, wishful thinking, and the interests of big oil companies.
Time will tell if there was a solution to begin with – lots of time, measured in many decades and more likely in centuries.

Get real.

Posted by reality-again | Report as abusive

As America becomes the only backer of Israel from some long standing misguided allegiance, America’s standing in the world also takes a hit and diminishes.

America is broke, both financially and morally. Obama has followed the same failed pro-Israel policy of Bush and the NEOCONS. We can no longer project power with our National Debt which will cause cut backs in our military and foreign aid. Israel needs to make peace and relinquish its hold on Palestine and the West Bank occupation.

Posted by FredMertz11 | Report as abusive

I wonder how many billions this so called remarkably savvy
deal will cost us.
Fact one,
Israel at this time will not give up land.
Fact two , the Palestinians want the same
land Israel will not give up.

Posted by magnum77 | Report as abusive

At one time Muslims, Jews and Christians lived together in peace in Palestine. Then in 1948 the Jews invaded, stole the land and butchered the Arabs which created the mess we are in today. THAT is the bottom line when talking about the “peace talks”. Ever notice that before the talks start the Jews do something to provoke the Arabs? Build more houses on occupied land… Ring a bell? They push until a rocket is fired in anger then stand back and cry about how they are attacked. They retaliate with overwhelming force against a population that is trapped on a sliver of ground and cannot escape the attack. The Arabs are of Semetic blood and they deserve to live on that land. Most of the modern Jews are NOT of Semetic bloodline and have no business being there. Stop the American support of Israeli! We have enough problems here at home that need our attention.

Posted by Bigtoad45 | Report as abusive

It is like trying to disprove a negative.

Questions like this are always couched in bogus terms for prejudicial effect. An Israeli/Palestinian deal, done, won’t fix the ME’s problems. Like raising taxes won’t end a country’s debt, or inserting, ‘well regulated’ into US’s gun let, won’t end violence. All, junk juxtapositions, all are falsifications of efforts. And, I would say, at the cheaper side of rhetoric.

Regulating gun ownership does help. Raising taxes does help. And doing good things in the world helps your credit. Bringing justice, not just for your friends, brings you credit. And failing, brings you down.

So I cannot see how the author misses that US’s standing, before Moon’s UN, is weak. How it cannot have been but greatly helped by earlier US deeds – pushing our ally Israel (after all, their sincere guys could use our cover), or releasing Guantanamos, or curtailing remote bombing, or renditions, on and on.

None of these things is a magic pill, as the author plays to require. The author plays us false, misstating those efforts.

No one of them is identical with a solution. But all of them are connected, and can help. In their absence, can Moon but decline?

Posted by geot2 | Report as abusive

theylookalike wrote:

“Has anyone seen video footage of a Palestinian refugee concentration camp? Israel is one of the most foul countries on the planet.”

No, no one has seen it because it doesn’t exist. No such thing as “concentration camp Gaza”

What does exist are shopping malls and 5 star hotels in Gaza, and full shelves in the stores.

As far as the existence of Palestinian refugee camps, why do they exist in Lebanon and Syria?

Posted by hmp49 | Report as abusive

hmp49 wrote:
“No, no one has seen it because it doesn’t exist. No such thing as “concentration camp Gaza”

Holocaust denier!

Posted by Monodist | Report as abusive

The author is pessimistic? Golly. This stuff has gone back to 1946 when the Israel state was created by the UN.

Can’t anybody get anything right? Every American administration has hoped that “talks” will settle things in the Middle East. Maybe you will not going to take my word for it, but it is not going to happen–now or ever.

Posted by Bilge | Report as abusive

Finally somebody in the Mainstream media is paying attention. The Arab-Israeli conflict is merely a side show in the Middle East. Don’t get me wrong Arab/Moslems overwhelmingly want to annihilate Israel and to exterminate the Jews. But even if they could succeed in their genocidal desires the deep seeded Middle Eastern conflicts would continue. The first war would be over Israel’s land and assets. Then you have the Sunni-Shia hatred which has been going on since Mohammed’s death. Then you have the conflicts between radicals Islamists and moderates in both Sunni and Shia dominated countries. And you also have severe nationalist disputes over land, water and resources. And the list goes on.

Posted by dougjmiller | Report as abusive

Who cares? Those countries have raped each other, invaded each other, enslaved and pillaged and cross bred each other for hundreds of centuries.

Take the head gear off of any of the men over there and you can’t tell from which country they belong.

They are so intermingled in their blood lines that it makes no difference as to who is against who. The region is full of hatred for itself and it’s always been that way.

I’m tired of my tax dollars being used to send weapons to any of those people. We just recently offered 30 Stealth Fighters to Israel to hold their temper and promise to sit down at another negotiation table.

How many thousands of negotiations have we done already with no solution? The whole region is dreary, Mark Twain noted the same thing when he saw it over a century ago. Its people are dreary, the music is incredibly dreary, their stuck with their ugly religious beliefs. No wonder they hate themselves so much.

According to their holy books they are the off spring of the same great, great ancestor Abraham. That dude was so whacked out he nearly sacrificed his son one day but had a moment of clarity at the last moment.

Leave those spoiled brats to scream it out and fight in the candy store over who got the biggest piece of candy.

It’s time to stop sticking our noses into other peoples business and mind our own burning house.

Let me close with some lines from an old Bob Dylan song.

God said to Abraham, ‘Kill me your son.’
Abe said ‘Man, you must be puttin me on.’
God said ‘You know’
Abe said ‘What?’
God said ‘You do what you want to Abe but, the next time you see me comin, you better run.’
Abe said ‘Where you want all this killin done?’
God said ‘Out on highway 61.’

Posted by WinslowWilson | Report as abusive

Actually, the Middle East has only one problem: the Arabs. As soon as they are all gone, peace will reign supreme in the entire area. I am willing to bet on it.

Posted by Jaysonrex | Report as abusive

The issue needs to be solves. There is no reason for Israel to keep grabbing land of Palestinians and blocking their state. What sort of leaders does Israel have? Why does USA not act tough on Israel like it is very eager to do on Syria even without provocation or credible proof?

Posted by oxen | Report as abusive

@WinslowWilson – You could say the same thing about any country on earth and any people on the face of the earth as you say about the Arabs – at one time or another.

And less specifically:
What will change the relationship between Israel and the US will be a more entrenched and politically influential Arab population here. Those with the deepest pockets and the more sophisticated political experience sway the policy of this country and they may not even be very obvious to the man on the street. Israel is as indebted and stretched as the western industrialized societies. The Arab world used to be behind the times but how long can that last? I’m sure it’s long over in many ways and this country could start to have the problems they have. If the media here wanted to, it could paint an equally unflattering portrait of this or any European country now or in the past.

This country may not have an open ended future as it enjoyed so far and will have to be careful with it’s priorities and budgets. The rising powers, especially China, are not very familiar with the texts of the Western Bible(s) and will not be looking at the issues in the ME with the same emotional loading or prejudices. China and other powers, perhaps not so conspicuously influential now, could change the parameters of the entire conflict and even make it irrelevant.

That is the greatest threat to the future of Israel and even the forces of Arab discontent. It almost argues that China could be the mountain that crushes (not to be too violent with this imagery) the controversy and tells both Mohammad and Abraham – and even their take on the almighty – to get over it and/or sit in their corners. The emergence of other stronger nations – or even less strong but more numerous states – would change the priorities of everyone on the planet and all those dieing or being mangled by the current struggles will have been killed or blighted by what the future could see as yet another bloodbath in the name of ignorance, provincialism and bad faith.

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive

Knowing past right-wing Israeli practices, I wouldn’t put it past the Likudniks to be actively destabilizing the Middle East, knowing that while there is turmoil in the area, they can continue their “Holy Land” grab without much opposition from the Arab world, or the US and the EU.

It kind of fits with the Neo-Con manifesto from the late 1990s. The radical Islamic regimes which are replacing the current dictators are more likely to fight among themselves, while Israel’s expansionist policies can fade in the background, with the West and the US in particular getting the brunt for the blame from the dimwitted “Arab Street.”

Posted by MacMan | Report as abusive







Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

Taking the long view, you could argue that the residents of the territory currently defined as Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip have had problems with each other and their neighbours intermittently for much of the past 3,000 years: the territories have been claimed and occupied by pretty much every major power in the region (Assyria, Babylon, Phoenicia, Greece, Rome, Egypt, Turkey, Britain…); while in the past there were the divisions between components of the territory e.g. Judea, Galilee, Samaria.

More recently, during the 20th century, there was mass immigration to the territory causing tensions to rise as early as the 1910s (the Balfour Declaration in 1917 had a mixed reception), cumulating in the formation of Israel immediately after WWII and the subsequent few decades of conflicts with their neighbours. Both sides in the current conflict would ideally like the entire expanse of the territory to themselves, and while they make occasional public announcements and plans, history shows they’re not really all that committed to a permanent peace agreement.

If anyone thinks they can wave a magic wand and settle such long-term disputes, they’re mistaken to the point of being delusional.

Posted by mittfh | Report as abusive

Robert, The views that I have developed about Israel are new to me. Until recently, I never really considered the subject at any depth. Other, than the holocaust tragedy, that is repeated around the world, over and over to non-Jews with no intervention from Israel. And, the Anti-Defamation League, it is ok with defamation of anyone as long as they are not Jewish, and the hypocrisy that exudes. I have many friends of the Jewish Faith and I love the unique culture and the people. But, my view now extends far beyond that. I did not come to these opinions by reading anything in particular. But the greater sum of the whole picture is what has led me to my new found opinion about Israel. The Israeli leadership is unjust, hypocritical, and they have a unfounded since of entitlement based on what they turned into a delusion of superiority. I am not a racist, nor do I discriminate against anyone, so do go there with me.

Posted by 2Borknot2B | Report as abusive

A more fundamental reason for conflict in the middle east is centuries old bloody rivalry between Shias and Sunnis.That is the reason for present conflicts in Syria and Iraq,and two main players of opposite factions are Iran and Saudi Arabia.Unfortunately Muslims have never even attempted to solve the problem,and are not likely to do anytime soon.It is much easier to put the blame on West and USA without doing any introspection.In this they are united.

Posted by siesmann | Report as abusive

that place sure is confusing. but nice distraction from nuclear Pakistan and India, chemical Syria, sure, lets stop Hebrews building houses by the sea

Posted by barenski | Report as abusive

Some of the comments that suggest the situation can’t be changed are pathetic, insincere, manipulated and really only interested in the bottom line and, from the sounds of it, only in Israeli’s bottom line. They have a lot of their bottom over someone else’s line.

What seems to be lost in the last ten years were some of the arguments made both for intervention in the ME and against it. I’ve lost track of the double talk myself. But I don’t tend to listen the salesman pitches anyway. The US is effectively loosing the war(s)in the ME and many here knew that was all it could look forward to even ten years ago. It is trying to extricate itself with a good face and that can only be found by lying and misrepresenting its failures. That’s what politicians do best. Opinion pieces like this one are part of that fraud.

BTW – for the first 30 years of my life I tended to accept the Israeli argument (more propaganda than argument) because I never heard a single argument in favor of the Arab side. During the last 30 years I was able to hear more from the Arab side and started to see their point of view. And because I am neither Arab nor Jew, I can listen to either side as I please. And the only thing that prevented that fairer treatment of the issue was the Israeli side – they always had the microphone and the media.

@mittfh – it wouldn’t have required a magic wand to settle the issues with Israel/Palestine. It would take the adherence to truly honest discussions of the situation with the golden rule in mind (an idea not foreign to this country’s constitution either) and a recognition on the Israeli side that the state is founded on a racist/ religious ideology designed to make enemies because anyone not a Zionist tends to be cast as an outsider within the system or even as an enemy and the most avid Zionist can see that opposition as opposed to the will of heir version of “God’. The core philosophy of that state is Zionism – or to translate – The Jewish people (still woefully undefined in any real objective terms) must have a state of their own where they are the ethnic majority. How can anyone but the “delusional” look at that situation as anything but racism and sectarian prejudice masquerading as “enlightened” or even democratic government. The Israeli state never provided anything to the ME but a flawed model of democratic government and the Arabs were too unfamiliar with democratic models of government to catch on right away. And democracy within these shores may be a thing for PR men and marketing professionals only now, the truly important decisions being made by corporate boardrooms world wide.

A basic truth of the Israeli/Arab conflict is the fact that Israel is a minority and the Arabs are an underrepresented majority within the region and especially in the occupied territories, and a corrupt and selfish system – even rabidly so – has been systematically abusing and profiting from that abuse at the expense of the hostile captive population. The hostility of that captive population is easy to understand because it is the normal human reaction to being mistreated for being other than “Jewish” and is always a valid complaint regardless of the religion or sophistication of the capturing state. If Arab birthrates continue to grow and Israeli birth rates decline the state of Israel could easily be a “democratic” version of Assad’s s Syria with his Alawite minority constituency.

And I will never truly understand what being “Jewish” means because an Israeli Jew doesn’t even have to know a form of the religion in order to qualify for citizenship, apparently. It is far easier to understand the Arab complaint, that because they were not part of an unwelcome influx of foreign refugees who seemed to regard the natives as backward aborigines and people not to be taken seriously, they were bulldozed and out-funded into submission until they fought back and then the dominant media could then paint them as “devils”. That sold well to pulpits and podiums in the Christian leaning home front and also served as a weapon to counter the enormous leverage of the oil sheikdoms. Those who suspect Israel of acting as an agent provocateur have a valid intuition (and more than a few facts I their favor).

And to the idiotic argument that the Arabs are the problem there – people with their vested interests and expectations of civil rights tend to be a “problem” everywhere for the arbitrary and heavy handed. And if it is reasonable to suggest that the majority population move elsewhere, how much more efficient and sensible to suggest the minority do so instead.

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive

It’s silly for people to think this is an islam vs. judaism issue or any kind of cultural struggle.
The real issue is the zionist movement that has been going on for 50+ years. There are many useful id1ots in this board that are playing their part masterfully.

Posted by Kristin89 | Report as abusive

At this point in time around the entire world, every actual gesture of peace, not words, but actual gestures are significant. Any gesture of war, is also significant. The wrong play at the wrong time could be enough to inflame a world on edge. PEACE AND LOVE.

Posted by 2Borknot2B | Report as abusive

Look how quickly the neo-nazi anti-semitic roaches showed up. Little Israel stays safe. And only builds IN ISRAEL. All the settlements are IN ISRAEL. That bigots want to kill all the Jews is too bad Never Again

Posted by anindauk | Report as abusive

anindauk – It isn’t “only Israel” until a consensus is achieved by all those larger than “little Israel” that it has, or is, building only in Israel. Israel doesn’t own the planet. What it pushes also pushes others out.

Or Saddam only invaded Iraq and Kuwait is a fiction.

BTW – I’m sure a lot of countries would like revised borders when it suited them and they thought they could win the argument.

Isn’t it obvious a lot of people are taking to the idea that “God” is giving them their marching orders and they don’t seem to notice that he is playing all sides against the middle?

With all sides claiming God, God always wins and looses simultaneously, and only the human gets crushed between the opposing forces of a divine isometric exercise workout.

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive

Palestinians signing a peace treaty with Israel is not and will not suffice for peace with Israel. the Palestinians are broken people and peace without justice can not last. the fact is, the Muslim world considers Israel a fourth crusade by the Christians and will have to fight for as long as it takes to liberate the holly lands from the hands of the infidels that are on Muslim territory and land. So when the Muslims finish there disputes and quarrels between each other and unite under one leadership, as well as have the self dependents of arming them selves with latest weaponry, than they will face Israel for its totality.

Posted by rdm3850 | Report as abusive

Here’s a reality check for all those who say that problems in the middle-east is because of the U.S foreign policy. Let’s go to the 18-19′th century and why was the U.S navy created and what was the first mission to which purpose the U.S marine corps were created?????
Muslim Barbary pirates were attacking american trade ships unprovoked, they also sold american captives into slavery.

When the Ambassador of the ottoman Empire met Jefferson, he answered to Jefferson’s question, why do they attack them when they have no hostility against them with this quote:
“…that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman (Muslim) who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.”

U.S navy was built to defend the americans against these peaceful religionists. Marines stormed the beaches of tripoli and forced a peace treaty which trhe muslims broke three times each time provoking a new war untill the french and Italians submitted them and colonised their countries. Turkeys demise was the end of islamic power when the caliphate was discontinued in the 1920′s.

it was in the munich olympics when this Islamic war on west was continued again. To claim that west startesd it is to be completely ignorant on the history which goes all the way back to the 7′th century showing how the arabs started the invasion of byzantine empire and harrasment of Christian kingdoms over 400 years before the first crusade, which was called to defend christians against islamic invasion of byzantine and to provide safe passage to the pilgrims to jerusalem.

Please be more knowledgeable about history if you want to blame the west of everything wrong in this world.

Posted by Jaredite83 | Report as abusive

Keep telling yourself whatever you have to to blot out the fact that America is colluding in the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. Try alcohol. I hear it’s popular for people trying to forget what monsters they are.

Posted by Nasty_Celt | Report as abusive

If Nasty Celt would try to show any problems with my comment or the historical facts I presented, maybe his comment could be taken seriously.

If there is an ethnic cleansing of “Palestinians”, it would be a great thing to show it first.

Americans were not even allied with Israel until Nixon’s administration, so how is it that yanks are helping to cleanse anything?

Arab casualties are in thousands, not hundreds of thousands or millions, unlike the Jewish casualties were in the death camps, which were supported by many Muslim leaders of whom most notorious, grand mufti of Jerusalem, was visiting those camps.

Arabs die in war, which they wage against Israel, not in any concentrated mass extermination. there are over million Arab Israeli citizens who have representation in the Israeli parliament, who work in the military and police forces. How many Jews have such opportunities in any of the Muslim countries, of, I forgot, Jews are not allowed to enter most Muslim countries at all. In fact,800 000 Jews were exiled, and property taken in their Muslim countries, but Israel took them in. Slightly lower number of Arabs, mostly willingly, escaped the war between Israel and Arab nations, and were greeted by their neighbors by putting them into refugee camps.

Israel has freedom of press, Muslim countries has not.
Israel has guaranteed equality rights for women, Islamic nations deny such possibility.
Israel even protects gays, while Muslim nations hang them publicly.
Israel has free elections, most Muslim countries has not, and elections usually are held only once, like in Gaza, after which, the winner kills the opposition and denies any future elections.
It is interesting that thousands of rockets are launched into Israel every year, yet Israel has not leveled the streets of Gaza like any other nation would had.

There is no comparison between Israel and the Muslim nations. Arab children are taught to hate the Jews in their kindergartens and schools using such books as mein kampf and protocols of the learned elders of Zion, as text books for kids to learn.

Any moral persona can see that Israel is the country with a higher moral ground, no matter what failings they have, just compare them to their neighbors and it is evident instantly that Israel is a jewel in the pile of dung called the middle-east.

Posted by Jaredite83 | Report as abusive

Well all that history is interesting. But, it is time for the future. We will create the earth we are going to live on. From this point forward, let’s forget the past, lets just start over, let’s just all love each other for our differences. This world can destroy every single person on this planet and she has taken all the abuse she can. If you do not have respect for what you are creating and how you are impacting the greater whole around you, then you do not deserve to exist. The earths protection comes first.

Posted by 2Borknot2B | Report as abusive

“There is no comparison between Israel and the Muslim nations. Arab children are taught to hate the Jews in their kindergartens and schools using such books as mein kampf and protocols of the learned elders of Zion, as text books for kids to learn.”

No they aren’t.

It’s funny to see Israeli supporters pull the same brown shirt tactics that the Nazi youth did.

Posted by rich___w | Report as abusive

Maybe focus on controversial issues is not the way to go- too many generations scared by broken promises. Maybe its time to think outside the box:

Posted by MideastIssues | Report as abusive

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict kept the flame in the regions for decades.
Even to assume that the conflict is irrelevant to what’s happening in the Wider Middle East is a nonsense.

Posted by OUTPOST2012.NET | Report as abusive

Albert Einstein once said: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results

Posted by wande | Report as abusive

Why does this article keep appearing on the Reuters FRONT PAGE 3 months after it was written?!?

Posted by BlackJackBro | Report as abusive

The middle east has always had one basic problem. It is money. Mo’ money equals Mo’ problems.

Root cause analysis (RCA) is a method of problem solving that tries to identify the root causes of faults or problems.

RCA practice tries to solve problems by attempting to identify and correct the root causes of events, as opposed to simply addressing their symptoms.

By focusing correction on root causes, problem recurrence can be prevented. RCFA (Root Cause Failure Analysis) recognizes that complete prevention of recurrence by one corrective action is not always possible.

Posted by WashingtonTimes | Report as abusive

Peace can only be achieved through dialogue and diplomacy.

Posted by joachimokoye79 | Report as abusive

Religious nuts of all stripes like pain and destroying others and our problem is we think we should protect them from their insanity. We must not do that. we must let them do as they would so tha the world can see what they are. Granted, we need to keep our own local nuts pinned down, but with enough freedom to feel the pain they like so much.

Generally speaking on other topics too, allowing people the freedom to punish themselves through stupidity is the only way you produce humans that will stop doing these dumb things. If we live in a rubber room society the average person gets dumber because there are no consequenses to their action. Don’t get me wrong, we should help people, but only when they seek it, and only if they can understand what their failing was. Of course this will never happen, because we would have to say to the religious nuts “see, see what happens when you believe in imaginary beings in the sky and give over all control to a man with the direct pipeline the the imaginary being?” And when that man tells you to select leaders who will manipulate you further and only intend that the benefits of your labor goes to them or their masters.

Posted by brotherkenny4 | Report as abusive

Israel has invaded Lebanon again in violation of UN rules. The Israeli gov’t needs to be sanctioned and the sanctions need real TEETH! All the gov’t that support that N.A.Z.I. apartheid state need to be sanctioned too.

Posted by prolibertate | Report as abusive