Applying lessons from Northern Ireland
Israel should push for the establishment of a semi-permanent peace conference involving moderate Arab countries and representatives of the Quartet.
[...] Two creative breakthroughs are needed: the first is to see moderate Arab states as true partners with a common interest in resolving the problem, and to break with the decades old Israeli doctrine that we should never meet the Arab world as a whole. This policy is based on the denial of historical reality: The Arab world as a whole needs to accept Israel's presence in the Middle East.Some good stuff here. But where is the Palestinian's Nelson Mandela? That would help too.
The Arabs should help us? Yes. Social psychology has shown time and again that the best way to create solidarity between feuding parties is to have them work on a common problem. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not just our problem: It is one of the whole Arab world, because it fuels Islamic fundamentalism and destabilizes the region. No Palestinian leader can opt for compromise without looking for the legitimacy bestowed by all Arabs.
The second breakthrough we need is to rethink Israel's phobia of participating in permanent conferences that allow a process to evolve. This is exactly the opposite of the situation of the Camp David summit in 2000, which was completely identified with Bill Clinton, who was in the last phase of his presidency. The frantic pressure of having to strike a deal before he left the White House, with no one in sight who would shepherd the process to an end, was a recipe for failure.
Instead we need to apply the model of the Northern Ireland process. In Alderdice's view the major factor that made success in that process possible was the participation of the British and Irish governments, as well as the support and involvement of the American government. All pledged to be there for as long as it took to reach an agreement.
Psychologically, it makes a huge difference to know that external support is there to stay. [...]