The Peace Process Is Dead. Let’s Bury It.

Claremont Review of Books, Spring 2001.


The Oslo “Peace Process” is dead. It is time for a public burial, before the corpse infects the landscape even more than it has already. As the fighting between Israelis and Palestine Liberation Organization-led Palestinians escalates, American policy lamely calls for an end to the fighting and a return to the conference table. But the fighting is a consequence of all the previous visits to the conference table. What is the point in renewing a process that cannot lead anywhere except back to where we are now?

The idea underlying Oslo was that the Israelis would give up land to the PLO to form a Palestinian state, and that state would then conclude an agreement for lasting peace and economic cooperation with Israel. But “land for peace” today is indistinguishable in principle from “Sudetenland for peace” in 1938. Hitler then declared the Sudetenland to be his last territorial demand in Europe, and Chamberlain believed him. When Chamberlain returned from Munich waving a slip of paper with Hitler’s signature, he declared that it meant “Peace in our time.” In fact, it guaranteed the outbreak of the greatest war in all human history.

Claremont Review of Books