What Lessons from the Documents Released by Al Jazeera?
As reported in The New York Times, the documents from Israeli-Palestinian-American negotiations
published by Al Jazeera seemed to reveal three things about the negotiations and prospects for peace.
1) Palestinian negotiators seemed more prepared than Israeli negotiators to make
compromises to resolve issues; 2) U.S. negotiators sometimes tried to sell the Israeli position
on issues to the Palestinians rather than act as a fair and honest mediator; and 3) the principles
and practical ideas outlined in the so-called "Clinton parameters," the People's Voice Initiative,
and the Geneva Accord still offer the most hopeful and realistic outline for a negotiated
I fear that some supporters of both sides may learn lessons from the documents that will fuel
further conflict and help guarantee a future with more dead Israeli and Palestinian children. Some
supporters of Israel may conclude that by refusing to compromise Israel can win the negotiations
and some supporters of Palestinians may conclude that rather than by negotiations, Palestinians
can eventually win by boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns against Israel. I believe
the most important lesson to learn from the documents is that we need to build broad, active public
support among American Jews, Christians and Muslims for the Obama Administration urgently to press ahead fairly and firmly for a two-state peace agreement along the lines of the Geneva Accord.