By Geoffrey Paul
March 24, 2010
For about 18 months, a group of mainly Harvard professors from various academic disciplines have been meeting weekly for two hours to discuss the Israel-Palestinian conflict and ways out of it. They call themselves the Boston Study Group on Middle East Peace. They set their sights on a publication stressing the role of U.S. foreign policy, and basically arguing toward more proactive, persistent and resolute engagement on the part of the U.S. toward a two-state solution. They have just published their conclusions in a 90-page online document entitled "Israel and Palestine - Two States for Two Peoples: If Not Now, When?"
Although each of the group wrote an individual, signed paper, they came together in agreeing a set of conclusions which argue, in part, "The benefits of a two-state solution are incontestable, and genuine progress must be achieved quickly. Continuing the status quo—fruitless negotiations, Palestinian divisions and the steady expansion of Israeli settlements—may soon make it impossible to create two states for two peoples. The result would be the latest in a long line of tragedies: extremists on both sides would be vindicated; America’s image would suffer, complicating foreign policy in a crucial region; Israel would cease to be a democratic and Jewish-majority state and be condemned as an apartheid society; and the Palestinians would continue to suffer in poverty and powerlessness.
"Therefore, achievement of a two-state solution should be a top foreign-policy priority for the United States. Although many observers look at past failures and despair of future progress, there is now widespread recognition that a two-state solution is the only outcome consistent with the principles of attainable justice."
Whether or not you agree with them, the Boston team have put together a challenging document and a very useful one, too. It includes a timeline and glossary of Israel- Palestine conflict from 1947 until today and a review of the attitude and policy toward the conflict adopted by every American presidenr since Israel was established. It will certainly become a seminal document in the discussion of the US role in the Middle East.
Your can read it - and download it - for yourself at: