Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

On the Roots of Extremism II

The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil have given President George W. Bush a freer hand to dictate foreign policy. The parties to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are unlikely to attempt to block any new push by the Bush administration toward the long-awaited peace.

Exhausted and pained by the loss of life and property, the Palestinians have never been more ready or willing to make the compromises needed for a diplomatic solution. The Israelis are also exhausted.

If both sides have learned anything in the past year, it has been that neither side can force its own political solution on the other. Both Palestinians and Israelis now know exactly how far the other side is willing to go. There is no uncertainty remaining about which points are the most sensitive and which issues are nonnegotiable.

Military means have failed to crush either side, and will continue to fail. All that has resulted has been an unending cycle of bloodshed and hatred.

Bush's determination to remove all obstacles from the path of a U.S. victory over international terrorism is a powerful tool. It can be used to help forge an eventual U.S. foreign policy initiative regarding the Middle East, guided by internationally accepted fundamentals.

The Palestinians should have the ability to create and run a sovereign independent state that is viable and has geographical continuity. Israel must be guaranteed peace and security within recognized borders. The continuation of the policy of occupation and subjugation will never produce peace or stability.

For Jerusalem, an inclusive rather an exclusive solution must be found that deals with the national needs of both peoples as well as the religious requirements of the three major faiths.

A fair solution must be found to the Palestinian refugee problem that respects the principle of the right of return without affecting the sensitive demographic situation in Israel.

There will be grumbling once such a U.S. initiative is announced. Israelis will likely squirm the most. Having been spoiled by U.S. policies often dictated by the powerful pro-Israel lobby, Israel will not quietly accept such a plan.

The key will be the depth of the Bush administration's determination to stay the course and insist on its plan, despite attempts to derail it.

There has never been a better time to bring peace to the Middle East.

Daoud Kuttab is a Palestinian journalist and the director of the Institute of Modern Media at Al Quds University in Jerusalem. He contributed this comment to the Los Angeles Times.