What Will the U.N.-Brokered Israeli-Lebanese Border Mean for the Mideast Peace Process?
ANDRIA HALL, CNN ANCHOR: U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is expected to arrive in the Middle East Monday in an effort to help shore up the peace process there. Israeli and Palestinian leaders exchanged sharp words Sunday over the state of the talks. Meanwhile, security has reportedly been beefed up around Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak because of threats by Jewish settlers over his plans to transfer land to the Palestinians.
For more on the Middle East peace process, Daniel Pipes, the director of the Middle East Forum, joins us now from New York City.
Mr. Pipes, reportedly the U.N. is close to an agreement on a new Lebanese-Israeli border. What will that agreement definitively mean for the peace process?
DANIEL PIPES, MIDDLE EAST FORUM: Well, Andria, that agreement is very interesting and possibly very important. The Israelis have been debating among themselves now for seven years whether the peace process, as it was forwarded by Prime Ministers Rabin and Peres and Netanyahu and now Barak, is working or not. And there's been no resolution because there's been no way of telling.
But now, with this U.N. certification, the Israelis have entirely left Lebanon, pulled back all their soldiers, gone back to the international line. And now we stand at a point to look forward and see whether the peace process is working or not.
If there are no katusha rockets, there is no violence, then it looks like it is. If there are, it looks like it isn't.
HALL: Israel has pulled out of Lebanon. The boundaries are being redrawn. What about the political boundaries between the two countries?
PIPES: The key question here is whether the radical groups in Lebanon, like Hezbollah and the Palestinian radicals, and the states behind them, Syria and Iran, are interests in pursuing this further? Do they think they've had a victory over Israel and they can keep on winning by attacking further, or are they content with what they have and they say, well, live and let live?
This is vital for the future of the peace process, because although Lebanon is just a small arena, much less important than the Palestinian or the Syrian tracks, it is the one that has come to fruition, and it's the one that's going to tell us about the other tracks.
HALL: The U.N. views the defining of these borders to be critical before it brings in any peacekeepers at all. If that happens, when that happens, what will likely be the response to U.N. peacekeepers as a buffer in that region?
PIPES: Well, the peacekeepers are nice fellows in blue hats. They don't really have a lot of force and punch to them. They will work if both sides agree they work. So the key here is not the U.N.'s placing of soldiers, the key is whether Syria, Iran, the Palestinians, Hezbollah, are agreed to leaver Israel alone now that it has left Lebanon entirely or whether they're going to keep on attacking. And, you know, right not it's not clear, because in a way they've laid the groundwork for further attacks by laying claim to parts of Israel, buy making all sorts of new demands.
On the other hand, they haven't actually attacks. So it's not clear at this point. It's a really open question. it's a particularly fascinating moment, actually.
HALL: And definitely a wait-and-see moment as well.
Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, we thank you.
PIPES: Thank you.
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