Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas have been circling around one another for a few years, exchanging words about peace and compromise, but never finalizing anything other than they both have a desire for peace. Now, as Olmert prepares to leave office due to a scandal, he is saying, “in principle, there is nothing to prevent us from reaching an agreement on the core issues in the near future– you don’t need months to make a decision.” Of course, had this been said a year ago, there might now be peace between Israel and Palestine. In 1993, the Oslo accords gave hope of peace, but what was agreed upon somehow got lost in the process of trying to implement the agreement.
Palestinian police have restored law and order to several cities such as Hebron, and IDF forces no longer have to patrol cities such as Nablus and Jenin. The Abbas government has improved in many areas of administration such as in its banking and accounting offices. If Oslo is any example, it proves the importance of following up on agreements by working on implementing details, not grand theories.
Barack Obama has to ensure the United States works with Israel and the Palestinian Authority to ensure the details of peace become a high priority and a reality.