Emanuele Ottolenghi: Realism in the Middle East

The Temple Mount

President Obama’s latest attempt to cajole Israel and the Palestinian Authority into reaching a historic peace accord has floundered. Predictably, the blame game has now begun. Adding a new twist to the familiar script of failure in Middle East diplomacy, this time the US administration has chosen to join its European allies’ instinctive reaction of pointing the finger at Jerusalem, while Israel has publicly blamed the US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Each attempt no doubt has its peculiar qualities — the usual mixture of bad timing, clash of personalities and outside imponderables that make each round of failed peacemaking the stuff of lectures, essays, memoirs and recriminations.

Yet they all have much in common. For once one has replaced names or dates — US special envoy Martin Indyk for George Mitchell, 2008 for 2014 — the dynamics, stumbling blocks and predictable negative outcomes are the same.