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Avineri, Shlomo

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Helsingin Sanomat - Finland | 09/06/2008

Middle East: the limited power of the US

In a commentary for the Helsingin Sanomat, Shlomo Avineri, a professor of political sciences at Jerusalem's Hebrew University, writes about the US's position in the Middle East: "If you look at the role the US has played in the Middle East over the past 60 years you see that it has only managed to achieve consensus between parties under two conditions. If these conditions are not fulfilled this great power is ultimately powerless. ... The first condition is peace. ... In such circumstances the US can act resolutely to put an end to the bloodshed and bring about a ceasefire and perhaps even peace. ... The second condition will be fulfilled when Israel and the Palestinians begin peace talks. ... In situations other than those described, US initiatives are stillborn. The US is basically powerless when the parties involved lack the political will for a sustained peace process. ... In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as in any conflict between nations, the key to resolving the problem is ultimately at the site of the conflict. Despite good intentions the international community has never been able to resolve national conflicts."

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