The resignation of Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas this past Saturday marked a disappointing, yet expected turn in Middle Eastern affairs, as it effectively ended the U.S.-backed "road map for peace." After three years of continuous fighting, the U.S.-led, internationally-backed peace effort was heralded as a solid plan to effect significant change in the Middle East. This plan hinged on the marginalization of Yasser Arafat within Palestinian affairs and was witheld by its drafters until the appointment of Abbas as prime minister. After his appointment, however, Abbas claimed that Arafat would not allow him sufficient political clout to be an effective leader.

The road map was embraced by the Palestinian Authority and then accepted by Israel, raising hopes for the plan and for Abbas as a new start. But these hopes were dashed. And while another attempt at peace-making has failed, this by no means should mark the end of the process.

While support for Abbas among the Palestinian populace was negligible at best, opinion polls have found that the majority of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples continue to support peace efforts, regardless of who is in power. Abbas' resignation must not hinder efforts to resolve this situation. The leaders involved in this conflict - be they Israeli, Palestinian, Arab or American - need to work together to facilitate peace. There can be no other option - the alternative to talks of any kind is a Palestinian civil war and greater Israeli isolation. Brandeis must support any and all efforts that bring people together in discussion.

This means supporting the efforts of non governmental organizations such as Seeds of Peace, which are dedicated to advancing dialogue between the youth of warring nations. The success of these efforts is indicative of the ability, and even the willingness, of supposed enemies to communicate with each other and work toward what is, in the end, a common solution.

As late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin once said, "In order to make peace, you must treat your enemies as if there is no negotiation, and your negotiations as if there are no enemies.