The Rules of the Peace Process Just Changed

Sunday, December 10, 2017 |  Ryan Jones

"The Palestinians need to know: the rules of the game have changed. The ship changed direction. I recommend that they not test Israel's patience with their terror threats."

That was the reaction of Israel Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked to US President Donald Trump's declaration recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

For decades, the Middle East peace process has operated on the formula of pressuring Israel for concessions in hopes of moderating the Palestinians. The thinking was that if Israel would just offer enough, the Palestinians might honor their own commitments.

On Wednesday, December 6, 2017, Trump officially declared that formula had failed.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas wasn't entirely wrong in declaring that Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital had killed the peace process.

The peace process as we've known it for the past 23 years did die last week. Or, at least, the way it's been implemented thus far died.

The rules of the game until this point have revolved around putting pressure on Israel to meet Arab demands. Those rules have produced nothing but more tension, division and conflict. The news rules, as Trump presented them, appear to revolve around acknowledging historical truth and accepting present reality, and insisting that the Arabs do the same as a baseline for negotiations.

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