The Middle East Awaits

It's always good when an establishment newspaper points out the obvious even when it's not part of the current election talking points. The NYT did so when it penned an editorial on the criminal neglect of the Middle East peace process, which should have been a priority after the 2000 election, after 9/11 and should be now.

Instead, they have joined in offering Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon, virtually uncritical support for whatever military operations or settlement expansions he chooses to undertake. After pronouncing anathemas on the discredited Yasir Arafat, they have stood by waiting for a new, less compromised Palestinian leadership to somehow emerge miraculously to replace him. This is not a policy. It is an abdication of leadership that costs Israeli and Palestinian lives, deepens mistrust and makes an eventual peace that much harder to achieve. Washington cannot afford to remain on such a destructive course. It must work to rebuild its influence as a force for Middle East peace.

Update: It's also heartening to see that most of the letters published in response to the editorial are supportive.

Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region,