Let foreign policy guide your vote: an experienced negotiator (not Trump) is the key to good relations with Israel.

Author:Sofaer, Abraham D.
Position::OPINION
 
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Observers rarely have much luck guessing whether a given presidential candidate will actually help Israel achieve a secure peace. U.S. supporters of Middle East peace should start by assuming that the candidate most likely to advance America's security is the one most likely to advance Israel's. Beyond that rule, they should evaluate candidates' proposed policies based on something we know: which ideas work in Middle Eastern diplomacy and which ideas fail.

Here is a short list of failed ideas that continue to dominate Middle East diplomacy:

Now or never. We often hear U.S. negotiators assert that Israel and the Palestinians must make peace "now" or lose the opportunity forever. But helping Israel and its neighbors to make peace has been a long-term process. Progress has come slowly, in steps, sometimes unilaterally. Time can even open new opportunities, such as Israel's chance now to develop meaningful relationships with additional Arab states. The United States should respond to concrete opportunities rather than claim that some imaginary train is "leaving the station."

All or nothing. Comprehensive plans to settle all the major issues Israel faces, usually advanced by presidents and secretaries of state, have repeatedly proved futile. They disappoint expectations and often miss opportunities for partial progress. The 1978 Camp David Accords succeeded because the participants gave up on settling the Palestinian issue. The Camp David II summit in 2000 failed because President Bill Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak insisted on a comprehensive agreement rather than accepting more limited progress. President George W. Bush's 2002 "road map for peace" was a two-year trek to nowhere. And Secretary of State John Kerry's 2013-14 initiative to reach a comprehensive peace between Israel and the Palestinians in nine months was absurd from the start. The parties only pretended to take Kerry's effort seriously, and the bitterness its failure generated is a reminder that poor diplomacy is not cost-free.

The solutions are obvious; just adopt them. Presidents (and candidates) hire well-known "experts" to help them form opinions on what Israel and the Palestinians should do to solve their disputes. The experts think they know the answers to all the complicated issues, such as settlements, security, right of...

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