RAMALLAH, Apr. 7 (JMCC) - Two senior White House officials told Washington Post
columnist David Ignatius that President Obama is 'seriously considering' delivering a new US peace plan sometime in the Fall.
The plan, which is said to be based on the Clinton Plan from 2000, has received backing from a group of former National Security Advisers who meet regularly with current National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones at the White House.
Brent Scowcroft, who served as national security adviser for presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, spoke up first, according to a senior administration official. He urged Obama to launch a peace initiative based on past areas of agreement; he was followed by Zbigniew Brzezinski, the national security adviser for Jimmy Carter, who described some of the strategic parameters of such a plan.
Support for a new approach was also said to have been expressed by Sandy Berger and Colin Powell, who served as national security advisers for presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, respectively. The consensus view was apparently shared by the other two attendees, Frank Carlucci and Robert C. McFarlane from the Reagan years.
Obama's embrace of a peace plan would reverse the administration's initial strategy, which was to try to coax concessions from the Israelis and Palestinians, with the United States offering bridging proposals later. This step-by-step process was favored by George Mitchell, the president's special representative for the Middle East, who believed a similar approach had laid the groundwork for his breakthrough in Northern Ireland peace talks.
The Israeli administration has been trying to focus US attention on the Iranian nuclear issue, but the US officials who spoke to the Washington Post say that both tracts need to be dealt with together, not one without the other.
The American peace plan would be linked with the issue of confronting Iran, which is Israel's top priority, explained the second senior official. He described the issues as two halves of a single strategic problem: We want to get the debate away from settlements and East Jerusalem and take it to a 30,000-feet level that can involve Jordan, Syria and other countries in the region, as well as the Israelis and Palestinians.
The Obama administration's efforts regarding the peace process have remained at a stand-still since taking office in January 2009. Despite expending serious political effort and capital in this endeavor, Obama has had very little to show for it except a rupturing of the relationship between the United States and Israel
The Palestinian Authority
headed by Mahmoud Abbas
refuses to reengage in negotiations with Israel until it stops building settlements
on occupied Palestinian territory
. The Israel government, headed by Benyamin Netanyahu
, has refused to comply and has continued to build its settlements considered illegal under international law
more about this story at The Washington Post