“Historically, the strategic foundation for U.S. involvement in the peace process has been twofold. First, the peace process was a way for the United States to manage seemingly contradictory partnerships with Israel and the Arab states, few of which recognized Israel and several of which had waged war repeatedly against the Jewish state. As Egypt and Jordan relinquished their own claims to the West Bank and Gaza beginning in the 1970s, the Arab world largely threw its support behind the Palestinian national movement led by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The United States was both uniquely capable of brokering talks on the Palestinian issue, enjoying as we did close relations with Israel and the Arab states alike; and we had a strategic need to do so in order to placate the Arab states and maintain a Cold War alliance system designed to block Soviet inroads in the region. This was true at least as recently as 2001, when George W. Bush became the first American president to pledge U.S. support for Palestinian statehood in a letter to then-Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, in order to head off what was a brewing crisis in U.S.-Saudi relations over the issue…”

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