Israel and Palestine have been uneasy neighbors ever since the Israeli state was created in 1948, and they have been engaged in peace negotiations since 1991. The Arab revolutions have infused the once-stalled debates with new arguments. 2011 could become a decisive year for peace and stability in the Middle East.
The Palestinean quest for statehood is threatening to derail the already-defunct peace process in the Middle East. Unless Abbas backs down, we might see the end of the Oslo accords and a return to violence.
Israel would be doing well to accept the unitary government from Hamas and Fatah as a chance for the peace process. Given the latest events in the Middle East, to continue the hard-line attitude seems to make little sense even no Palestinian state is formed in September.
Barack Obama has offered a bold vision for peace in the Middle East. His message is clear: There is no alternative to continued talks and tough concessions from both sides. Peace cannot be achieved with security. Both Israelis and Palestinians are now asked to recognize the other's unconditional right to exist as a first step towards the two-state-solution.