Two options: a real and defined cease-fire or a referendum in Palestine to support a two-state solution between Palestine and Israel.

These are the two choices former U.S. ambassador Dennis Ross presented as the only feasible solutions to the ongoing struggle for peace in the Middle East.

“We need to transform reality in a way that is thinkable,” said Ross said in Tuesday’s judaic studies lecture at the Quick Center. “There is hope, but it isn’t going to happen by itself.”

The former ambassador also discussed the actions the U.S. and the international community must take to come closer to a lasting peace.

Ross said the current Bush administration has not invested enough time or energy in the problem. He criticized the administration for not asking the hard questions and for sitting on the sidelines.

To create a solution, Ross said, the United States needs to have an objective and discuss our best options.

U.S. ground forces are being expended in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Ross. Meanwhile, the U.S. is not able to address the situation in Iran, which currently forms the crux of Middle East issues.

After the 34-day Middle East crisis between Hezbollah in Lebanon and Israel, the American people turned their focus from Saddam in Iraq to the threat in Iran.

However, Iran is not scared of the U.S., Ross said, because “they think we are incapable of doing anything.”

Prior to the crisis, Iran had supplied Hezbollah with 15,000 katyusha missiles through the Syrian boarder into Lebanon.

“Hezbollah [is] pursuing an Iranian agenda … an agenda to dominate and threaten us,” said Ross.

Although the U.S. has created a Syrian Accountability Act, Ross said the government does not use it. The U.S. need to wean Syria away from Iran in order to promote peace, he added.

“It takes negotiation, someone to mediate, someone dedicated,” said Ross.

Ross has dedicated the past 20 years of his career studying Middle Eastern politics, where every treaty and concord agreement means two steps forward and one step back.

Ross said his view that the goal of peace and a permanent cease-fire seems unattainable in the near future is realistic, not pessimistic.

With his experience and knowledge of the situation, Ross is able to point America toward possible solutions, said David McFadden, chairman of Fairfield’s history department and an expert on international relations. “Through analysis, Ross is pointing the way to what America should do, what American policy should be.”

At least 12 students including Tim Rich ’08 had the opportunity to talk to Ross in the Loyola Hall lounge before the lecture.

“He helped students to understand the intricacies of Middle East politics,” said Rich.

Asked why he tries to impart his knowledge to the public through lectures and memoirs, Ross answered, “The Middle East dominates current politics, and people need a knowledge base to evaluate it.”

“He is a fascinating person,” said von Arx, who attended the lecture. “He’s had 20 years of experience and has been more involved than anyone else. His wealth of experience makes him fascinating to listen to.”

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