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Monday April 12, 2010 6:13 PM (EST+7)
ANALYSIS: Israel impasse gives US much to ponder

Read more: US-Israel relations, US peace plan, peace process

RAMALLAH, Apr. 12 (JMCC) - In light of a Middle East peace process that appears to be going nowhere, the Obama administration may be gearing up to propose a fully-integrated peace plan of its own.

The United States Arab allies: Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have made it clear that a perpetuation of the status-quo will likely bring disastrous consequences on the region as extremist groups continue to gain momentum.

High ranking members of the military establishment, most notably Gen. David Petraeus, have testified to the assessment that the prolonged Israeli-Palestinian conflict hurts US interests in the region and makes US soldiers fighting in two wars in the region further susceptible to hostility from an Arab and Muslim public whose 'hearts and minds' they are hoping to court.

Reports speak of a possible new US demarche in which Obama would table a grand peace initiative, multilateral in approach and embracing all the parties to the Arab-Israeli conflict, not just Palestinians and Jews. The proposal would be a composite of the 2000 Camp David blueprint, which so nearly took hold, and the 2002 Arab peace plan, plus various subsequent refinements.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, has since stepped up the pace, urging Obama to make an Anwar Sadat-style journey for peace by conducting Arab and peace-process leaders in joint appearances at the Knesset (Israel's parliament) and the Palestinian legislature in Ramallah. Only a bold and dramatic gesture in a historically significant setting can generate the political and psychological momentum needed for a major breakthrough, he said.

Although Jones emphasises that nothing is yet decided, pressure on Obama to make a move is mounting. The Palestinians would applaud more direct US ownership of a rebooted peace process; the Arabs might see it as an endorsement of their position; and as Seth Freedman argues on Cif today, Israelis would welcome the economic boom that would follow a settlement...

Yet, another more worrisome question lingers for American policymakers. Would Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition government respond positively to a US initiative which imposes a solution? If not, a further rupturing of the US-Israel relationship would likely be in store if the Israeli government refused to go along.

The consequences would likely be a fracturing of the Netanyahu coalition and the formation of a new government, whose composition may not be strong enough to accept the proposal.

Read more at The Guardian...






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