The Foreign Service Journal, December 2006

which moderate countries will find it even harder to take pro-American positions. Toward a Comprehensive Settlement If the Bush administration really wants a sustainable solution in Lebanon, it will have to acknowledge the links to Syria’s determination to recover the Golan, the Pales- tinian struggle for self-determination, and Lebanese demands that Israel respect its sovereignty. Bush may find himself finally forced to implement the second para- graph of the July 16 G-8 statement issued in St. Peters- burg: “The root cause of the problems in the region is the absence of a comprehensive Middle East peace.” Such a settlement will require meaningful negotiations, leading to an end to unilateralism. The Palestinians and Arabs have been ready for peace with Israel for years. They restated this commitment in the Arab Peace Initiative launched by Saudi Arabia’s then-Crown Prince Abdullah in 2002. Under the plan, they would sign a peace agreement and normalize rela- tions with Israel if it withdraws to the 1967 borders, accepts a sovereign Palestinian state encompassing the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, and agrees to a just solution for Palestinian refugees. These are all proposals fully upheld by international law. Indeed, the majority of people throughout the Middle East have been ready for peace for decades. There can be no doubt that the majority of the populations in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories continue to support a two-state solution: for the Palestinians, free- dom, self-determination, sovereignty and the right of return; for the Israelis, peace and security; and for all, equal rights. It will not be easy to move back from the brink of chaos, but it can still be done. In her speech Rice noted that what today seems a distant dream can become reality. Washington should support such an outcome in every possible way. If it cannot, for what- ever reason, it should step aside and let others, includ- ing the Europeans, do so. F O C U S 38 F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / D E C E M B E R 2 0 0 6