Saturday, October 09, 2010

President Obama's Effort to Broker an Israel-Palestine Peace Agreement

There are many valid questions being raised about how many concessions President Obama is willing to make, up front, in order to entice Binyamin Netanyahu back to peace talks, not the least of which is the promise not to seek additional freezes of settlement construction beyond the requested sixty days. Given that it is unlikely that peace talks will occur, let alone succeed, without an ongoing construction freeze, the two most likely explanations for the offer appear to be:
  • President Obama is going to declare to the parties that they've been dickering over the details for forty years, and that thanks to his concessions to Israel's security concerns the only real issues are borders and Palestinian refugee rights, the latter of which isn't really an issue because any Palestinian "right of return" will be limited to the new Palestinian state, and that he expects the parties to come up with a working plan for borders within the sixty day time frame; or

  • He's going to wash his hands of the issue, but doesn't want to do so until after the election.

Can you think of any other possibilities? Are you putting your money on Door #1 or Door #2?


  1. Door #2 might not be a complete abandonment - it may be an expression that due to the parties' inability to make key concessions and the continued expansion of settlements, as of a specified date the U.S. will endorse a "one state solution" to the problem; if the parties can agree to something else by that date, the U.S. would support it, but if not the U.S. (or at least this administration) will look toward something beyond the long-desired "two state" solution.


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