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The Myth of the Missed Opportunity In Israeli-Arab Peace

Akiva Eldar examines the question of whether every diplomatic process that does not result in an agreement between the Arabs and Israelis should be considered a “missed opportunity.”
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to the media alongside Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, March 5, 2012.   REUTERS/Jason Reed   (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR2YVOP
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The month of March holds out the promise of abundant political opportunities. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected, in all likelihood, to form his third government; President Barack Obama is coming on his first visit as a sitting president to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan, and immediately after that the summit meeting of the Arab League is convening in Doha. As it does every year, the summit will likely ratify the Arab Peace Initiative born in Beirut more than 10 years ago.

Absent noisy surprises, Obama’s visit will be crowned “another missed opportunity”. But already now, before the guidelines of the new government have been finalized, and before we know what the American president is carrying in his bags other than a note to be stuck in the Wailing Wall and a wreath to be laid at [the Holocaust memorial] Yad Vashem, it appears one can take an additional step forward and determine that this time, too, the expected lamentation over “the opportunity that was missed” is baseless. Simply, because to begin with, there was no opportunity; therefore, it wasn’t missed.

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