Mr. President, don’t pray for anything you really don’t want

Barack Obama’s administration has been lobbying Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Arab governments hard to return to direct talks with Israel for the first time in several years. That decision could be made as early as Thursday, when the Arab League meets to discuss the matter. But Obama should very careful what he wishes for. ...

By , a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Barack Obama's administration has been lobbying Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Arab governments hard to return to direct talks with Israel for the first time in several years. That decision could be made as early as Thursday, when the Arab League meets to discuss the matter. But Obama should very careful what he wishes for.

One of the most enduring myths in the lore surrounding Arab-Israeli diplomacy is that direct negotiations provide the key to successful peacemaking.

They don't.

Barack Obama’s administration has been lobbying Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Arab governments hard to return to direct talks with Israel for the first time in several years. That decision could be made as early as Thursday, when the Arab League meets to discuss the matter. But Obama should very careful what he wishes for.

One of the most enduring myths in the lore surrounding Arab-Israeli diplomacy is that direct negotiations provide the key to successful peacemaking.

They don’t.

Read more.

Aaron David Miller is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a former U.S. State Department Middle East analyst and negotiator in Republican and Democratic administrations. He is the author of The End of Greatness: Why America Can’t Have (and Doesn’t Want) Another Great President. Twitter: @aarondmiller2

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