Israel had broken out of her isolation and won acceptance from Egypt, Jordan and even Arafat's PLO.
But in 1995, Prime Minister Rabin, who had won the Nobel Peace Prize for Oslo and had come to believe in the necessity of trading land for peace, was assassinated by an Israeli fanatic determined to prevent any surrender of West Bank land.
When Sharon came to power, he gave up Gaza, but refused to yield on Jerusalem or the West Bank. His successor, Ehud Olmert, like Rabin and Ehud Barak before him, came to believe that Israel had to give up the West Bank for peace, or she would never know peace.
But Olmert failed to negotiate that peace.
Looking back, Israel has prevailed in all her wars, from the War of Independence, to the Sinai campaign, to the Six-Day and Yom Kippur wars, to the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, to the first and second intifadas, the Lebanon War of 2006 and the Gaza War of 2008.
But today Israel is more isolated than she has ever been, and the prospects are bleak that she can break out of this isolation.
Hamas rules Gaza. Hezbollah rules Lebanon. The Turks have turned hostile. The Palestinian Authority has given up on Barack Obama and is demanding a state from the Security Council and U.N. General Assembly. Israel's partner in Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, is gone. The Israeli embassy in Cairo has been sacked. Mobs in Amman have sought to do the same.
George W. Bush was persuaded by neocons that an invasion of Iraq would start the dominoes of Arab tyranny falling and usher in an era of pro-Western democracies in the region.
Not quite. The Arab Spring that followed the U.S. invasion by a decade is bringing down the despots but also unleashing the demons of ethnonationalism and Islamic fundamentalism that are anti-American and anti-Zionist.
Israel's great patron, America, is in retreat from the region, with her army in Iraq home by year's end and her autocratic allies down in Egypt and Tunisia and tottering in Bahrain and Yemen.
By 2050, Palestinians west of the Jordan will outnumber Israelis two to one. Syria, Jordan and Egypt, which had 40 million people at the time of the Six-Day War, will have 170 million. Militarily, Israel remains dominant, but neither time nor demography seems to be on her side.
And Arab acceptance seems more distant than ever.
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