Friday, March 22, 2002

LET'S HOPE THIS IS TRUE: Via Instapundit, an exceptionally argued piece by David Warren stating that the U.S.' recent moves in the MidEast are designed to prepare the way for the destruction of Arafat. Let's hope.

Thursday, March 21, 2002

TERRORIST PREVENTION 101: Apparently today's suicide bomber had been recently released from custody by the Palestinian "Authority."
Meanwhile, Colin Powell - as in the head of the peace-processing State Department - is moving to declare the Arafat-connected Al-Aqsa Brigades a terrorist organization. It's too early to say "I told you so," but it is clear that this is not your Bush father's Administration. I just don't see James Baker-type pressure coming anytime soon.
In addition, Bill Quick also takes up the big picture of the U.S.-Israel-Iraq triangle and looks at the future for the region. It's not pretty. According to the World Tribune article he cites:

The two countries are said to have reached an understanding over the military priorities in any U.S. war against President Saddam Hussein.
The priorities focus on protecting Israel from an Iraqi nonconventional missile attack. The sources said the administration has pledged to provide early-warning alert for any Iraqi missile attack and focus its war effort on destroying Iraqi missile launchers near the Jordanian border. The sources said the understandings were reached during Cheney's visit this week.
...The understandings also include an Israeli commitment to exhibit restraint during any U.S.-led war against Iraq. The sources said the commitment regards a series of scenarios raised by Washington.
In one scenario, Iraq fires missiles tipped with chemical warheads toward Israel. U.S. intelligence agencies believe Iraq has installed chemical warheads on Iraqi Scud-class missiles. But the agencies are skeptical over the effectiveness of the warheads on aging Iraqi missiles, meant to fly more than 400 kilometers.
The diplomatic sources said Israel has agreed to demonstrate restraint in the face of such an Iraqi attack as long as the missiles are launched from Iraqi territory rather than from neighboring Jordan or Syria.


As an aside, wouldn't you love (in a perverse way) to see how the Arab world would blame Israel if the chemical-tipped misslies failed to reach Israel and kiled people in Jordan or Syria? (And if it is the former, how about a joint Israeli-Jordanian force going into Iraq as a response? That would surely blow the minds of the region's bloodhtirsty anti-Semites.)
But back to the article...

For his part, Sharon has sought U.S. understanding for an Israeli military response to a third scenario — that of a Palestinian rocket attack on Israeli communities during the war against Saddam. The sources said Sharon maintains that Israel would then reserve the right to respond with a massive attack that would destroy the PA or exile PA Chairman Yasser Arafat.
The administration appears divided over Sharon's request. The sources said Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have expressed understanding of Sharon's position. But Secretary of State Colin Powell has warned that a massive Israeli response would derail any U.S. military campaign in Iraq.


Zinni should give Arafat a copy of the former paragraph at their next meeting. It really seems that the Bush adminsitration views Arafat as someone whose survival is moderatley useful to them until they can topple Saddam. But that won't be long, and once it happens, Sharon (or Netanyahu) may well be given the green light to destroy the PA once and for all.
Not that it will be a lasting solution, but it may well stop the flurry of suicide bombings. And that's good enough for now.
SOME PASSOVER THOUGHTS ON LIVING IN AND VISITING ISRAEL: Yossi Klein Halevi discusses how "living in Israel is an act of faith." Meanwhile, the popular youth tour "March of the Living" has canceled the Israeli leg of the tour this year.
YES, THAT USUALLY HAPPENS: I know they're doing this in frenzied fashion, but CNN's online editor really fell asleep at the switch for this one:

A suicide bomber set off a massive explosion Thursday in the heart of downtown Jerusalem, police said, killing at least two people and wounding more than 50.
Police said they believed the bomber was also killed.


Let's see... if a "suicide bomber" sets off a "massive explosion," yes, the bomber would usually be killed. The word "suicide" is there for a reason.

CEASE-FIRE ALERT: While the Palestinians supposedly negotiate a cease-fire,yet another suicide bomber attacks in central Jerusalem. The bombing was apparently carried out by the Arafat-connected Al Aqsa Brigades.

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

THE PRINCE OF PEACE, OR OF DARKNESS? Steven Den Beste has an interesting rumination on the nature of peace:

I want a dark flashlight, please. I want a lamp I can put in a room and turn on and it will make the room dark... Where can I buy that, please? Sorry, not for sale, not even physically possible. To make a room dark, you must find and get rid of all sources of light. But as long as there are any sources of light in the room, it won't be dark.
I would like to buy some peace, please. Where can I buy that? Sorry, to get peace, you have to stop all conflicts, and that means you have to find and remove all the reasons why those involved were willing to fight.


And on the basis of war:

Whatever that reason was to start the war in the first place, it is going to be strong enough to restart it, unless that reason was dealt with in the meantime. In the 1970's they ran into that in Lebanon. The various factions were shelling each other and turning what was once considered the most beautiful modern city in the mid-East into a bombed out wreck, and some western do-gooder would come in and negotiate a cease fire. And the shooting would stop.
For maybe 24 or 48 hours. And then the combat would start again, slowly but with rising ferocity, and within a week they'd be back to "normal". This happened again and again. Over a period of months there was cease-fire after cease-fire, and none of them held. (It ended when one of the do-gooders got kidnapped and held for ransom. After that, no more do-gooders tried to negotiate cease fires.)
The problem was that to the western do-gooder, "peace" was itself the goal, and the way to get it was for everyone to stop shooting. But for those involved in the war, peace was not the goal. And the ceasefire did indeed bring peace but it didn't deal with the underlying grievance which started the war in the first place. So they would start shooting again.
We got a guy in Israel right now trying to get a cease fire between the Israelis and Palestinians. Will he succeed? He might. But it won't last. Both sides would like peace, but they also want more than that, and a simple ceasefire won't give it to them: land. The Israelis have it, the Palestinians want it, and there isn't enough of it for both of them (in their opinion). The Palestinians started this round of the Intifada for a reason, and a cease fire won't satisfy them. (If they had only wanted peace, they wouldn't have started the Intifada in the first place.)
The [pro-"peacemaking" advocate] is making the same mistake that the do-gooders did in Beirut, and assuming that peace itself is what both sides in any given conflict crave. So you can get peace just by stopping the fighting. But if it were possible to have dealt with the deeper issues without fighting, they wouldn't have begun fighting [in] the first place.


Well said.
LESSONS FROM THE DURABN DISASTER: An outstanding article by Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Ca.), a Holocaust survivor and U.S. delegate at the disastrous Durban conference, describing the exact nature of the anti-semitic forces at work there. Two of the most notable features of his piece:
1) He singles out non-governmental organizations ("NGOs") for special blame:

The leaders of the great Western human rights NGOs like Human Rights Watch, the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, and Amnesty International participated in the NGO Forum in Durban. Shockingly, they did almost nothing to denounce the activities of the radicals in their midst. They made no statements protesting the debasement of human rights mechanisms and terms taking place in front of their eyes and they offered no support to the principled position that the Bush administration took against the singling out of Israel and Jews for attack and criticism at the conference. Instead, they repeated, like a mantra, the ludicrous charge that the Bush administration was using the Middle East issue as a smokescreen to avoid discussion of slavery.
Durban demonstrates that we cannot always assume that all NGOs are focused on advancing universal standards of human rights. When the U.S. government abrogates its role as the leading advocate of pluralism, democracy and human rights, the NGO process can become as polluted as the intergovernmental process.
2) Lantos singled out Mary Robinson, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights for special blame, and his critique has already gotten results: Robinson has resigned.
As Professor InstaPundit says:

I think it's time to give the UN and Euro crowd what they say they want -- deep U.S. involvement in the U.N. and other multilateral enterprises. Getting rid of Mary Robinson is the beginning of this process. We've let too much crap fester by ignoring it on the plausible theory that it didn't matter. Let's show these folks the respect of taking them seriously -- but let's hold them to the responsibility that entails. U.S. diplomacy needs to look more like Metternich and Bismarck than Albright and Robinson.
THE U.N. RESOLUTION SHOULD BE COMING ANY DAY NOW: According to a German documentary, it appears that Muhammad ad-Dura, the 12-year old Palestinian boy whose tragic shooting death at the begining of the second intifada was captured on TV, was likely killed by Palestinian shooters rather than Israeli soldiers. Somehow, I don't think this news will get quite the media coverage that the original blaming of Israel did.
ABANDON HOPE, ALL YE ROYALS FANS: Rany Jazayerli is losing faith in his Royals earlier than usual this year. Not that he doesn't have plenty of justification, but it's sad to see nonetheless. This week's "Rany on the Royals" is about the franchise's determination to not sign its best players to long-term contracts:
David Glass announced that the Royals could not negotiate any long-term deals with their players until a new Collective Bargaining Agreement was reached.
...It could be that Glass is one of Selig's closest allies in the game, and has been reassured that a new CBA is coming, one that will prune the salaries of high-priced star ballplayers. Who can blame Glass for believing Selig? When has Allan H. Selig ever been proven wrong?
Regardless, Glass put his foot down, and squashed whatever hope remained. Refusing to sign your best young players to long-term contracts isn't fiscal responsibility; it's suicide. Offering young players long-term security in exchange for locking them at below market value (what they call "cost certainty" in the business) is the small-market franchise's weapon of choice. Glass's announcement was tantamount to throwing down arms and running from the field of battle. (This military reference brought to you by Tony Muser.)
Sign Jermaine Dye to a long-term deal? The Royals couldn't even get Rey Sanchez's name on a new contract. Employing the logic that has served the team so well for the past 12 years, the Royals decided they could live without a booming bat in right field a lot easier than they could live without a slick glove at shortstop. With Neifi Perez, the Royals were pleased they had killed two birds with one stone, even if in the process they strangled fan interest, butchered the trust of their players, and knocked off about six wins a season. Lee Harvey Oswald didn't do as much damage with a single shot.




SPEAKING TRUTH TO (SUPPOSED) POWER: More great stuff from Victor Davis Hanson on the true motivations behind the Israeli-Palestinian war:
Indeed, if the West Bank were to be returned and a general peace declared, there might well be a decade of peace. But then after the hiatus, the madrassas, the autocrats, the theocrats, and the coffee-house intellectuals would, according to their station and methods, all move on to the next round of recovering "all" of "Palestine" — a task made somewhat easier in their mind by Israel's new nearly indefensible borders.
Unlike the Europeans and some others in the West, much of the Arab world does not see distinct and lasting periods of peace and war, but rather interprets the conflict as a continuum — one that will properly and only end eventually with the end of Israel itself.
Why should we put credence in such a pessimistic appraisal of Arab intentions? History supports it. The first three wars were waged when the West Bank was in Arab hands; so why would the premises for the next war be any different from those of 1947, 1956, or 1967, when the goal, as Egyptian General Saad Ali Amer once put it plainly, was "the realization of our common goal — the elimination of Israel"?
The current conflict is surely not over the grievance of dead Muslims — Iraq and Iran make Israelis look like amateurs in that regard. Nor is the lament really over the cruel expulsion of Palestinians en masse — Kuwait garners that prize for expelling a quarter million after the Gulf War. Nor is there much historical precedent of according Palestinians any privileged position based on land lost through war. Compare the current borders of Germany with those of 1914, and then try and make the case for returning soil from France and Poland that was German since antiquity — and the world will answer back with a stern lecture about the wages that a state incurs when it repeatedly attacks its neighbors and loses.
What then can Israel do as the West watches and wonders whether the supply of suicidal murderers will be exhausted before the weary Israeli public concedes? Such a strange place, the Middle East — where Klansmen-like terrorists in hoods, who blow themselves up in Israeli restaurants, and fire machine guns up into the air at funerals, try to pass themselves off as noble, underpowered freedom fighters because their fiery supporters in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Jordan have learned long ago not to send any more of their own plentiful planes and tanks to destroy Israel.

Most notable is Hanson's undeniable conclusion:
But there is one final consideration for those smug utopian architects in our state department and Europe that is completely forgotten in all this. There will be no second Holocaust. If almost all of the West Bank is returned, as is likely, and in a few years hostilities nevertheless resume as they did during phases 1-3 of the Middle East wars, as is also likely, the battle will be over Israel itself, not Palestinian land. That will be a war Israel will not lose, and it will be fought outside not inside the Jewish state. And that will be a nightmare compared to the current crisis. Those in Europe and in the United States who now lecture about morality will then prove to be not only amoral, but also answerable for far, far more still.
THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN RADICAL A YEAR AGO: Thomas Friedman believes that U.S. troops need to be on the ground in the West Bank to make and keep peace there. The theme of his column is that "this is a shocking recommendation," but it is a statement about how horrific the situation has become that if you've been following developments closely, it isn't crzay at all.
Also, Friedman makes the following point:
What the hawks don't understand is that the escalating friction between the Israeli and Palestinian forces is enabling Palestinians to steadily improve their military skills. This is a natural phenomenon seen in many prolonged wars between a more sophisticated and less sophisticated army. It was the long friction between Hezbollah, a ragtag Lebanese militia, and Israel that eventually improved Hezbollah's skills to the point where it was able to force Israel to withdraw unilaterally from Lebanon, without any agreement, by lowering the casualty ratio between Hezbollah and Israel from 10 to 1 down to 1 to 1.
He's absolutely right, and it points out something that the U.S. learned in Vietnam: the folly of gradual escalation. Part of the effectiveness of force is in its shock value, which is greatly reduced in a situation of gradual escalation. Something to keep in mind for when the next cease-fire fails.
SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL, VOL. II: Andrew Sullivan speaks for many bloggers when he opines that by pressing Israel for a cease-fire, it is selling Israel out and faltering in the war on terrorism. I agree that from a moral standpoint, the reversion to State Department-style peace processing is wrong. But I think there is much more to the administration's moves, and much less succor to the Palestinian terrorists, than meets the eye. Here's a semi-organized explanation:
1) The Bush administration deserves the benefit of the doubt. The unqualified support they have given to the Sharon government over the last several months, in the face of international opposition and the scorn of media "sophisticates", is more than any recent administration has done - perhaps not since the Johnson administration gave Israel a tacit green light to launch the 1967 war. (For all of Clinton's affinity for Israel, he reverted to the James Baker playbook as soon as Netanyahu was elected; his administration's support for Israel not-so-coincidentally coincided with the intervals in which Israel was most willing to comply with the wishes of international polite opinion. I think it is far more impressive that the U.S. government has supported the man regularly and unfavorably compared to Caligula in the international media (on a good day).)
2) The support being given to Arafat is much less than it seems. In a brilliant piece originally published in July in the Weekly Standard, David Brooks noted that the Palestinians and Israelis were then (and certainly now) at the stage where they were negotiating cease-fires in a way that would force the other side to break them first. The Tenet plan was a victory for Israel in that respect:
It forces Yasser Arafat to perform a series of politically unpalatable tasks—like arresting terrorists and confiscating illegal weapons from his troops—before it forces Israel to do anything politically unpalatable, such as freeze settlement construction on the West Bank. Therefore, Arafat will have to break the cease-fire first and bear the brunt of the ensuing American disapproval.
The agenda that Zinni is now pushing is the Tenet plan. Today's supposed breakthrough - the news that Dick Cheney would be willing to meet Arafat - is, as the Washington Post understands, a politically adept move which returns the onus to Arafat to:
meet certain conditions, including a public declaration that violence by Palestinians must end and that his Palestinian Authority security forces enforce a cease-fire, once it is agreed on, in areas under Palestinian control.
...Israeli officials said neither Cheney nor Zinni had pressured them to make political concessions -- or even discuss possible concessions -- before the Palestinians arrest militants, seize illegal weapons and crack down on groups that have carried out terrorist attacks.

(As an aside, don't expect the NY Times to pick up on any of this, as usual.)
Also, there is little doubt that Sharon has been taking a page from Arafat's book and escalated the Israeli response right before the Zinni visit, so as to create an opportunity for a "concession" (along the lines of the Palestinians reducing the number of shootings on Israelis from dozens to 5 per day).
3) The current situation will be swept away in the whirlwind of what is about to happen. I've seen many journalists couch this scenario in qualifiers so as to not confront the ramifications. But you read this site for descriptions of the ramifications. So:
Israel will be attacked with chemical weapons in the next year.
When the U.S. attacks Iraq, there is little doubt that Saddam will fire whatever he can at Israel, as its nuclear deterrent will lose some effect once Saddam knows he is dead one way or another. (I still believe that it is worth taking him put ASAP, because failure to do so will only strengthen what he can and will fire at Israel and the U.S.) It is entirely possible that the attacks will, like his Scud attacks in the Gulf war, will fail to do much damage, but the storm resulting from the attempt will reshape the region to an extent we can barely foresee. (Not that I won't try.)
A regional war could easily result, especially if Israel retaliates with nuclear weapons. If that happens, the "peace process" will be pushed back at least a generation, and if (as will probebly be the case) the Palestinians join in the war, Israel may wreak destruction that will exceed the wildest fantasies of Al-Jazeera.
Even if a regional war does not result, Israel will be in a totally different position as a result of being the victim of an attack of weapons of mass destruction. And it appears that regardless of what happens, the U.S. will not be using much (if anything) in the way of Arab bases for the upcoming attack on Iraq; not as much of a "coalition" to pay lip service to. Thanks to that (and to the fact that unlike Bush 41, Bush 43's team is "unilateralist" by nature), the U.S. will feel less of a debt to the Arab countries than it did after the first Gulf War, meaning that James Baker-type pressure is unlikely to be applied.
Given all that, it makes sense that Sharon is going along with the U.S. now; it will cost him less than it looks at first and the situation will undergo complete upheaval when the U.S. attacks Iraq.
Have a good night.

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

NOT ALL "PEACE PROCESSES" FAIL: The NY Times had a great account of how peace has been restored to Columbia's English Department. Apparently they need to have outsiders make the important decisions because the department is so divided.
I wasn't an English major, but I took a lot of classes in the department, with the good guys (defined for purposes of this post as those who did not mention the word "deconstruction.") I had no idea any of these tensions existed. Obliviousness is sometimes a very good thing.
AT LEAST RUBEN RIVERA UNDERSTOOD HE WAS STEALING: Pirates outfielder Derek Bell, signed before last season to a two-year, $10 million contract for no discernible reason, had a truly horrific season last year and looks worse this spring. So how does he react to the news that the Pirates might be considering other options - such as players who might actually be able to play? He threatens to commence "Operation Shutdown," as Mark Kriedler explains. One question that Kriedler doesn't answer: how would "Operation Shutdown" be any different than what Bell has done since the first half of 2000?
SORRY: Blogger has been down every time I tried posting over the last two days. I will try to make up for it this evening.

Sunday, March 17, 2002

THE OTHER SIDE: From the Jerusalem Post, a good piece about how right-wing ideologues in Israel never admit that life may be more complicated than their worldview.
WHAT IS A BUBBLE? Robert Musil considers the question, as part of a series of posts on facotrs relating to the late-90s tech mania and subsequent "tech wreck."
APPEASEMENT IS COUNTERPRODUCTIVE: An excellent piece by David Gelertner in the Weekly Standard titled "The Suicide of the Palestinians." Here are some excerpts:
In short, the Palestinian response to Israel's generous peace offer was, "Drop dead." How could that possibly have happened? A trick question--because the obvious but wrong answer is so close to the right one that it's hard to tune the right one in. You have to fiddle the dial back and forth. Yet the difference between the two is crucial. The "lesson of appeasement" is not that appeasement is futile. Appeasement is not futile, it is dangerous. Israel's enemies claim that Israel herself provoked the ongoing Palestinian pogrom, and in a sense they might well be right. Outlaws interpret an openhanded offer as weakness, not generosity. They interpret weakness as an incitement to violence.
...to a significant number of Palestinians, the offer obviously said: "We are weak; you have nothing to fear; attack." Appeasement doesn't merely fail to prevent catastrophe, it provokes catastrophe.
...Jews have as much right as anyone to settle on the West Bank. But it long seemed to me (as to many other American Jews) that, leaving right and wrong out of it, the settlements were causing Israel more grief than they were worth and ought to be stopped. But everything has changed. Who in his right mind could still believe today that to stop building new settlements (or even to abandon old ones) would appease the Palestinians? On the contrary: Such a move is likely to be dangerous, as Barak's offer turned out to be.
We now know what Palestinians want, and what they think of Israelis. After all, what exactly is the point of sending killers to massacre children at random? What do you accomplish? You impose hatred. You ask Israel, in effect: What do we need to do to make you all (not some of you; everyone) hate us? To make you unable to look at a Palestinian without revulsion? To force you eventually to take the terrible step of setting up enclaves where Arabs are banned? Palestinians don't want to live peaceably among Israelis; the natural conclusion is that they think about Israelis as they choose for Israelis to think about them.



WHY THE IVORY TOWER IS A STATE OF MIND: Dennis Ross proposes another U.S.-led diplomatic initiative to restart a "peace process" between Israel and the Palestinians. Since he served both the Bush (I) and Clinton admnistrations as their point man on Israeli-Palestinian relations and was one of the primary architects of the Oslo-based "peace process" of such enduring accomplishment, it is worth examining his arguments. Despite the fact that he spent as much time in the region and immersed himself in the details of the negotiations as anyone else, his ideas still seem fatally divorced from reality.
Ross' main point is that the U.S. should start a four-point initiative, as follows:
First, we would ask Israel to halt its attacks and lift the siege of the Palestinians for 10 days. Should Israel get intelligence about a planned terrorist act in this period, it would inform Palestinian security forces and the United States. If the Palestinians did not act immediately to preempt the attack, the Israelis would have the right to do so.
OK... for every terrorist attack that succeeds, the Israelis prevent several others. Is it realistic to give first crack at prevention to those who have been (at best) encouraging the attackers? It is a recipe for a greater success ratio for the terrorists. This policy may not last past 9 A.M. on the first day of this plan.
Second, the Palestinian Authority would act decisively and unequivocally in the 10-day period to try to prevent all acts of terror and violence against Israelis. It would also begin to fulfill Yasser Arafat's previous promises to Zinni to make real, not fake, arrests and to dismantle terror organizations.
This has been on the agenda since the day the Oslo accords were signed in 1993, and hasn't happened yet. So when it fails to happen again...
Third, the United States would reconstitute the Committee on Verification and Monitoring mandated by the Wye River Agreement of 1998. Zinni would chair the committee and have it meet every day for the 10-day period; he would discuss the commitments each side has made, the gap between performance and commitment and the steps needed to bridge that gap. And he would be ready to announce who is fulfilling and not fulfilling his obligations. Based on the work of this committee, we should make sure our allies are prepared to join us in a common denunciation of the side not fulfilling its commitments.
At this point, you will run into the same issues that have prevented this from happening since 1993. Let's say the Palestinians fail to comply with certain requirements of the agreements - like #2 above, or having "security forces" many times larger than the one allowed under Oslo, or many times more (and heavier) weapons than allowed. Our allies who should be "prepared to join us in a common denunciation of the side not fulfilling its commitments" will bring tremendous pressure on us to spare Arafat in our denunciations - using all the familar arguments, and some new ones (like how any such criticism will jeopardize any supposed support we are getting for attacking Iraq). Under the Oslo-based process which Mr. Ross helped design, those exigencies always carried the day and the denunciations never occurred. Thus one side, which had forsworn violence, was emboldened to (a) build up an army with which to challenge its negotiating partner and (b) believe they could violate any agreement without consequence. If you want a recipe for the result of such "peace process" being a war like the one that exists now, that's a good place to start.
Basically, Ross is saying that the U.S. should now do what it avoided doing for almost a decade. It sounds good, but (a) it would be nice if he admitted as much, as he bears responsibility for why these steps were never taken before now and (b) it doesn't take into account why these steps have never been taken.
Fourth, assuming the initial 10-day period brings a halt to the violence, the Israelis, Palestinians, Egyptians, Jordanians and Saudis would send representatives to Washington at the foreign minister level to work out a timeline of steps to be taken over a six-month period. This high-level meeting would break new ground for the Bush administration. Its purpose would be to cement and institutionalize the initial period of stability; to introduce the additional measures called for in the Tenet and Mitchell plans for changing the climate so negotiations could be resumed; to fix a point at which talks would resume; and to establish the agenda for the negotiations.
Even if the violence does actually pause for those 10 days (and that's one hell of an assumption), a main lesson of the last 18 months is that the fundamental compromises that must take place in order for any peace to take hold (i.e., the Palestinians understanding that they will not be able to return to their ancestral homes) are not items that can be decided at a "high-level" negotiation; the people itself must accept them before peace can hold. The Israelis have certainly not been perfect at understanding compromises that they must make, but the concept of dismantling (at least many) settlements has been long and openly discussed and is agreed to by a large percentage of the population. By contrast, the Palestinian leadership has encouraged the fantasies of its population that they will be able to return to their old homes in Israel, an idea which is a total non-starter. As long as such beliefs are widely held, there is no reason to think that a peace based on a negotiation which compromises them will hold (regardless of how many "high-level" negotiations are held.) The stress on "high-level" negotiations shows that Ross still does not understand that.
Somehow, I don't think Robert McNamara had much credibility after Vietnam. The analogy is not perfect, but Ross was a primary architect of the most prestigious U.S. diplomatic effort of the last decade, one which has degenerated into total disaster. That should be kept in mind when considering his further prescriptions for the matter.