Lee Smith writes at Tablet:
It’s unclear who is behind the recent busbombing in Jerusalem and the waves of rockets coming from Gaza. Yet the intent of these attacks is obvious—to change the subject from massive popular discontent with Arab regimes to one that both the region’s endangered rulers and the world’s political and intellectual elite are more comfortable with: the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The fact that a wave of revolutions has shaken the foundations of Arab politics without the slightest apparent connection to popular outrage against Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians should be surprising to most experts and politicians in the West. For over four decades, the driving idea behind the West’s approach to the Middle East has been the supposed centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to Arab popular anger at the West and its key to ensuring the stability of the West’s favored regimes. That the price tag for this American diplomatic instrument has been thousands of dead Jews and several lost generations of Arabs has, in the upside-down world of Mideast policymakers, made the achievement of an ever-elusive peace deal seem all the more important with every passing year.
This idea was a convenient point of agreement between Washington policymakers and Arab regimes. For Washington, the peace process was a good source of photo ops and a chance to show concern for human rights in the region without interfering with the propensity of America’s Arab allies to torture and murder their political opponents. As for the regimes, they were happy to escape criticism of their own failures—rampant corruption, lack of basic human rights and freedoms, and violence against the Arabs they rule—by blaming Israel.
Whole thing here.