On December 7, 2012, the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security hosted former Israeli Minister of Internal Affairs Ophir Pines-Paz and Ghaith Al-Omari, executive director of the American Task Force on Palestine, for an off-the-record lunch discussion on “Prospects for Middle East Peace.”

The conversation was moderated by Barry Pavel, irector of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.

Both speakers emphasized that a long-term “Oslo-style” roadmap for Arab-Israeli negotiations would not be feasible given the current instability in the West Bank and Gaza. Additionally, the tense relationship between Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would preclude direct talks in the near term.

Instead, Mr. Pines-Paz and Mr. Al-Omari suggested that a US intervention may be the only way to push the peace process forward. By focusing on incremental steps toward reconciliation, the United States could begin rebuilding its relationship with the Palestinian National Authority and subtly engage both parties bilaterally. Whether the United States could be a “game-changer” in the region would depend on the Obama administration’s political will over the coming months.

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