Obama to propose new Middle East peace plan

Rick Moran
Well, not exactly "new" new. About 90% has already been agreed upon by both sides.

The trick will be that last 10% which will include the Palestinian "right of return" (to where?), the status of Jerusalem, and other sticking points that have held up an agreement in the past.

David Ignatius describes the process of developing the plan as similar to the formation of the plan for Afghanistan:

The White House is considering detailed interagency talks to frame the strategy and form a political consensus for it. The second official likened the process to the review that produced Obama's strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. He said the administration could formally launch the Middle East initiative by this fall.White House interest in proposing a peace plan has been growing in recent months, but it accelerated after the blow-up that followed the March 9 Israeli announcement, during Vice President Biden's visit, that Israel would build 1,600 housing units in East Jerusalem. U.S. officials began searching for bolder ways to address Israeli and Palestinian concerns, rather than continuing the same stale debates.

Obama's attention was focused by a March 24 meeting at the White House with six former national security advisers. The group has been meeting privately every few months at the request of Gen. Jim Jones, who currently holds the job. In the session two weeks ago, the group had been talking about global issues for perhaps an hour when Obama walked in and asked what was on people's minds.

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.

The fact that the idea was broached by two notoriously anti-Israel members of past administrations shouldn't necessarily disqualify the effort. The problem, as always, will be the Palestinians. At the moment, they have no incentive for peace since they have gained the sympathy of the world and money is pouring into their coffers from western governments eager to show how "evenhanded" they are. Why spoil the gravy train by agreeing to stand on their own?

Ed Lasky adds:

Experts predicted the ramming through of the health care bill would embolden Barack Obama's approach towards Israel - and they seem to be right. Scowcroft and Brzezinski played roles (but I though Brzezinski was just an adviser on Iran - at least, that is what was spun during the campaign, no?).

This is what a sense of grandiosity-and worse-brings. Get ready for the Saudi Peace Plan being revivified. Both Scowcroft and Brzezinski have acolytes throughout the FP team here - as does Lee Hamilton (who praised a laudatory book on Hezbollah)

The plan is expected to be unveiled in the fall.




Well, not exactly "new" new. About 90% has already been agreed upon by both sides.

The trick will be that last 10% which will include the Palestinian "right of return" (to where?), the status of Jerusalem, and other sticking points that have held up an agreement in the past.

David Ignatius describes the process of developing the plan as similar to the formation of the plan for Afghanistan:

The White House is considering detailed interagency talks to frame the strategy and form a political consensus for it. The second official likened the process to the review that produced Obama's strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. He said the administration could formally launch the Middle East initiative by this fall.

White House interest in proposing a peace plan has been growing in recent months, but it accelerated after the blow-up that followed the March 9 Israeli announcement, during Vice President Biden's visit, that Israel would build 1,600 housing units in East Jerusalem. U.S. officials began searching for bolder ways to address Israeli and Palestinian concerns, rather than continuing the same stale debates.

Obama's attention was focused by a March 24 meeting at the White House with six former national security advisers. The group has been meeting privately every few months at the request of Gen. Jim Jones, who currently holds the job. In the session two weeks ago, the group had been talking about global issues for perhaps an hour when Obama walked in and asked what was on people's minds.

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.

The fact that the idea was broached by two notoriously anti-Israel members of past administrations shouldn't necessarily disqualify the effort. The problem, as always, will be the Palestinians. At the moment, they have no incentive for peace since they have gained the sympathy of the world and money is pouring into their coffers from western governments eager to show how "evenhanded" they are. Why spoil the gravy train by agreeing to stand on their own?

Ed Lasky adds:

Experts predicted the ramming through of the health care bill would embolden Barack Obama's approach towards Israel - and they seem to be right. Scowcroft and Brzezinski played roles (but I though Brzezinski was just an adviser on Iran - at least, that is what was spun during the campaign, no?).

This is what a sense of grandiosity-and worse-brings. Get ready for the Saudi Peace Plan being revivified. Both Scowcroft and Brzezinski have acolytes throughout the FP team here - as does Lee Hamilton (who praised a laudatory book on Hezbollah)

The plan is expected to be unveiled in the fall.