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Op/ed: New Accords Didn’t Improve Middle East Relations

UMD Survey of Scholars Shows Little Optimism on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

By Marc Lynch and Shibley Telhami

the Shuafat refugee camp is seen behind a section of Israel's separation barrier in Jerusalem

The Shuafat refugee camp sits behind a section of Israel's separation barrier in Jerusalem. According to a new UMD survey, Middle East experts are increasingly glum about the prospects of a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians.

AP Photo/Oded Balilty, File

While pledges last year from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan to begin normalizing relations with Israel indicated that tensions in the Middle East might ease somewhat, scholarly pessimism remains high, according to Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat professor for peace and development and director of the Critical Issues Poll at the University of Maryland and Marc Lynch, political science and international affairs professor and director of the Project on Middle East Political Science at George Washington University.

In an opinion piece published Friday in The Washington Post, the authors describe the grim expectations revealed by a new survey of Middle East experts:

Six months into the Biden administration, scholars of the Middle East offered a more pessimistic assessment of the region. Not only do fewer scholars see hope for a two-state outcome in Israel and the Palestinian territories, but 80 percent now say its absence would likely assure that Israel would become an apartheid-like regime. Scholars also see democracy in Tunisia and a return to the Iran nuclear deal as less likely. And, contrary to the celebratory mood in Washington about the Abraham Accords in 2021, they see the impact as mostly negative for the region.

Read the rest in The Washington Post.



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