In the Arena

Interesting Move

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David Makovsky–the man with the best Israel-Palestine land-swap maps–has left The Washington Institute to join the State Department.

Why is this important? Because it may mean that we’re getting closer to the final status nitty-gritty in the Israel-Palestine peace talks. I know this seems unlikely. But it is definitely a smart move on the part of the State Department to bring on a universally respected expert who has spent the past decade, maybe more, drawing very precise maps that would allow Israel to keep the vast majority of its West Bank settlements in return for equal amounts of land that would augment the Palestinian state.

Peace in the Middle East is always a longshot. But things are changing…And I wouldn’t be shocked if Bibi Netanyahu was beginning to think that normal relations with his neighbors in the region–especially neighbors, like Saudi Arabia, who share the same national interests as Israel does–might be worth the risk that a deal with the Palestinians might bring. In any case, the miniscule chances for a deal will improve with David Makovsky on board.