With most media attention focused on the thrust and parry of the presidential race, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 13-day trip abroad garnered precious little media attention. That’s a shame, because an important message came out of the Secretary’s stop in Israel. It just wasn’t the one she intended. As Seth Mandel notes at Commentary’s “Contentions” blog:
According to an Israeli official who was briefed on the content of the meetings, Clinton told the different Israeli officials that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad are the best partners the Israelis ever had, adding that “it is unclear who will come after them.”
If Abbas and Fayyad–who resolutely refuse to even meet with Israeli leaders face to face–are the best Palestinian “peace partners” Israel has ever had, it is clear the peace process has gone practically nowhere since it began.
Mandel is precisely right. Peace in the Middle East is such a talisman to American presidents that they often stop thinking about the quality of any potential deal, looking solely for the achievement. That’s easy to do when you’re thinking of it as nothing more than a wing in your presidential library, but harder when you’re considering the lives of the people on the ground.
We may be waiting beyond our lifetimes for meaningful peace in the Middle East. But that’s a far preferable outcome to an agreement reached in haste that condemns the region to increased strife in coming years.