How the Saudi Initiative Could Work

Robert Satloff  looks at all the angles:

The relevance of a "23-state solution" approach, as it was termed recently by British foreign secretary David Miliband, to promoting the "two-state solution" will depend on whether the Arab contribution to peacemaking is connected to political realities. In the early Oslo era, Israelis were smitten with the idea of economic conferences in Casablanca and water desalination projects with Oman. Today, in the jaded era of suicide bombers, Qassam rockets, and the Hamas coup in Gaza, Israelis are far more concerned with basic security matters than with peripheral political achievements. If Arab states can contribute on that front -- by taking unprecedented action to cripple Hamas, strengthening the Palestinian Authority, and working with Israel to prevent smuggling of weapons, money, and technology to anti-peace elements -- then a regional initiative has a real chance of bolstering peace prospects.