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Diplomatic Scholar Examines Past And Present Peace Negotiations Between Israel And Palestine

"The Peace Puzzle: America's Quest For Arab-Israeli Peace, 1989-2011."
Cornell University Press
"The Peace Puzzle: America's Quest For Arab-Israeli Peace, 1989-2011."
Diplomatic Scholar Examines Past And Present Peace Negotiations Between Israel And Palestine
GUESTWilliam Quandt is professor emeritus at the University of Virginia and a co-author of "The Peace Puzzle: America's Quest For Arab-Israeli Peace, 1989-2011." He participated in the 1978-79 Israel-Egypt Camp David accords.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: This is KPBS Midday Edition, I am Maureen Cavanaugh. Israelis and Palestinians are currently engaged in peace talks for the first time in five years. US mediators say that have good hopes for the two sides to reach agreement on the terms for Palestinian state by spring of 2014. The repeated efforts to reach a settlement between us really is and Palestinians is the subject of the new book the piece puzzle. It is a compilation by the clients and policymakers outlined the opportunities lost and mistakes made in finding a viable peace in the region. One of the contributors is my guest William Quandt. He participated in the 1970 and 1979 is really dreaded Israel and Egypt peace records, welcome to the program. The peace negotiations and to be in deputy when the housing minister plans to build celibates. What you think Palestinian leaders to come agreed to continue to the negotiations? WILLIAM QUANDT: Is not entirely clear that they have agreed to continue. We're in a little hole. Ahead negotiators on the policy has said that they're going to resign on this about the twentieth time. They resided always come back. I think there is a reaction to the announcement that there might be other settlements. It is always a very sensitive issue. I am not sure whether we should be very optimistic about this. The other point I would make is that the talks although they've been going on in one form or another for several books, they have not really broken any new ground. We're in a period of going to the motions. Periodically future is the area. Get more energy into the process. This is a hard slogan. I do not take most people every optimistic about this. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: A Palestinian leader says that the negotiations will continue on his side and even with that you're not convinced that these will forward? WILLIAM QUANDT: I think he does not want to be viewed as a spoiler. There's a lot of support from the United States and western program's countries that want the pronunciations to go forward?. Where any that is where I am pessimistic. It's a divisive issue. It's a very divided cabinet and feel the actually control the small number of seats and he is outflank on his own right wing. But people who do not believe that peace is possible and they say so. Be there for the building settlements. They believe it is part of the homeland of the Jewish people and it's legitimate. This has to do this is owed political reality and his is on political believer in the concept that all British men didn't Palestine should have gone to the Jews. His big political concession has been a verbal bond toward a two state solution and was action makes it seem as if he still believes that he should be in control most of the territory. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Once again he is mediated these peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. What kind of stance has a US administration take it that is asked the worked in terms of coming close to a peace agreement? WILLIAM QUANDT: When you look at is particularly combat part of the call for conflict it may be two moments when for some reason there was a reason to think that something might come out of this. What is the period that began with the courts in 1993. When Clinton had just become president. The United States did not drive that process but quickly adopted people by generation or the signing ceremony of the right house where they shook hands and for the next two years of think there was some real negotiation Pearson real agreements. These were beginning to budge. Posted is came back to Gaza and the West Bank to do things that were consistent. The potential within Palestine and the Israelis seem to be accepting of it. That he was assassinated and within months that optimistic picture changed. The current Prime Minister come to power and he did not agree with the court take. He put a stop to them. Then there was a brief moment of the Clinton administration when President and the high minister and the head of the Palestinian authority all seem to be negotiating. And that seventy-eight failed. It's very end of his term in office he performed when he called parameters for an agreement. There are still about as good of a restaurant point for anything they can look like to state solution is forever to get there. It is now been thirteen years and spent a we've seen no real progress. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Your new book is called the Peace Puzzle. William is in town this speech tonight at San Diego State University. You mentioned twice the name Yasser Arafat. They wanted an inquiry into his death because of recent deaths. Yasser Arafat may have been poisoned. Why do you think this could of what effect do you think this could of had a peace negotiations? WILLIAM QUANDT: Many Palestinians but as a result of poison but they're not sure who did it. The easiest thing to say especially public is that it was the Israelis is not possible but the Israelis are complete control of Yasser Arafat. He could make a case that quickly he was useful for them. Less to support here in the world of office can credibility in the West. He was confused as of figure of the past and future. I got sure if it was them had their incentive to do. I can't figure that pattern. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Do you think it will have any impact? WILLIAM QUANDT: I think it won't have any impact I think that Palestinians are occupied with pumps today. They do not think they could've done that on any moral grounds. If somehow the truth were known height of the good change that much. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: On Monday Palestine contestants first vote in the UN General assembly. How important is Palestine's progress towards the Bishop UN toward the success of the negotiated since underway? WILLIAM QUANDT: The paradox that we have is that on one level the idea of Palestinians is more statehood is more accepted than it has been. They don't object to it but it has to be through negotiations. At the same time, the reality on the ground this is far from a functioning sovereign state as you can imagine or quit happens in the UN is highly symbolic. Symbols and politics but they're not decisive. I think what strikes me is this extreme gap between the image of Palestine as a state in the making and the actual reality that on the ground must people do not feel or live in historic Palestine. The Arabs who lived there do not feel like their actual close to the actual statement than they were twenty years ago. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: The book is largely about how the US has been trying to intervene and mediate the peace process. One of the things the book talks about is the supportive US the massive support event of domestic environment allow the US to move forward find peace. Do we have the kind of environment now? WILLIAM QUANDT: Probably not. I think that most Americans if for just to do a public opinion poll, they would say that the two state solution to this problem is the right way to go. And it should be sought. We have some interest is a nation just help solve. That is a rather ñ that is sentiment that is not deeply rooted for the average American in the Midwest. There's a certain fatigue with this and get outside Islam. A lot of people would like to see the salt on some kind of basics. Where politics is more intense than Washington, think there is a great deal of skepticism. Especially Congress and from publicans and the tea party types. We can see right now that there's a lot of animosity against his policy towards Iran and much of that is coming from the sauce sources and the next baseplate would be is if Obama and Kerry would put forward specific principles beyond the current generalities. If we came down and said that the future borders should approximate the wind said the city state with a would-be political fight but in Washington. Thursday led by Congress in the Israeli organizations. I'm not sure that President Obama wants that that right now. Especially since he's got Iran is one of the more promising and if he gets to that one of the he's going to feel it. I don't want to get into another fight right away. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Just about every US official would acknowledge that the US has a special relationship with special support for Israel in the state of Israel's coexistence. I think that goes without saying for all US politicians to varying degrees. But I'm wondering can the US ever be a fair broker when it comes to mediating between these two enemies? Israel and Palestinians? WILLIAM QUANDT: We're not a very credible mediator if you think that a completely neutral stance is what it takes to be a good mediator. We are committed to one side of this country your reason that Palestinians and Egyptians Assyrians that the United States is that there also a powerful country. And at least our state of positions are not so very far from, he wanted his territory back. Many Palestinians will say that they will be satisfied with the state of Gaza. They think that we might be a bit influence Israel to make his concessions. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: William has contributed to the new book the Peace Puzzle and he will be speaking tonight on the prospects for peace in the holy land. His lecture begins at six at San Diego State University. Thank you for speaking with us.

Israelis and Palestinians are engaged currently in peace talks for the first time in five years.

When the talks began this summer, U.S. mediators said they had good hopes for the two sides to reach agreement on the terms for a Palestinian state by Spring of 2014.

The talks have hit some bumps along the road, however both sides say they are still committed to the negotiations.


The repeated efforts to reach a settlement between Israelis and Palestinians is the subject of a new book, "The Peace Puzzle: America's Quest For Arab-Israeli Peace, 1989-2011." It's a compilation by diplomats, Middle-East experts and policymakers, outlining the opportunities lost and the mistakes made in finding a viable peace in the region.

Professor William Quandt will be speaking tonight on "The Prospects for Peace in the Holy Land." His lecture begins at 6 p.m. at San Diego State University.