Powered by WebAds

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Report: US cozying up to 'Palestinians,' but not taking 'proximity talks' seriously

A confidential foreign ministry report that 'somehow' was leaked to Haaretz (I'd bet on a Livni holdover in the foreign ministry) suggests that while the United States is not going to devote a lot of effort to the 'proximity talks,' which are scheduled to last for four months, the Obama administration is espousing views that are closer to the 'Palestinian' position on the issues.
The U.S. administration will not put a lot of effort into the upcoming indirect negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, opting instead to focus on the November Congressional elections, according to an internal Foreign Ministry report that was distributed to Israeli diplomatic missions abroad.

The classified report claims that in the preparatory discussions for the Israeli-Palestinian proximity talks the Obama administration adopted positions that are closer to Palestinian demands.

"The recent American statements point to the adoption of wording in line, even if partially and cautiously, with Palestinian demands in regard to the framework and structure of negotiations," the report stated. "Still, the [U.S.] administration is making sure to avoid commenting on its position on core issues."


The report released recently by the Foreign Ministry's center for political research, which focuses on strategic foreign policy, is less optimistic about the chances for progress in the next round of peace talks. The document was delivered to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and to Israeli diplomatic missions abroad several days ago.

According to the report Washington is aware of the domestic political problems faced separately by both Netanyahu and Abbas and has decided to concentrate on achieving the limited goal of restarting the negotiations. The peace talks will not be at the top of the Obama administration's agenda, the report claims.


According to the report, Washington can be expected to portray the resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian talks as a domestic and international achievement, in the hope of creating an atmosphere that is conducive to direct negotiations between the parties on the core issues.

The authors of the report also predict that the administration will avoid taking any position that suggests disagreement with Israel, because of the support that Israel enjoys among both parties in Congress.
Here's the problem: If Obama and the Democrats are resoundingly defeated in the midterm elections - which I expect to happen - there are two possibilities. Either Obama retrenches as Clinton did in 1994 and turns himself into a centrist, or Obama decides that if he can only be a one-term President, he may as well go for broke and forget about worrying about offending Israel's congressional supporters. I'd bet on the second scenario being a lot more likely than the first.

While Obama will be subject to a lot of restraints from Congress on domestic policy in the second scenario, there is very little Congress can do to prevent Obama from doing things like convening an Annapolis-type conference and trying to shove a 'settlement' down Israel's throat. A 'Palestinian state' would be a wonderful legacy for Obama, especially if (as is likely) creating one results in a second Nobel Peace Prize that could be used to fund his Presidential library and post-Presidential activities.

What could go wrong?


At 11:22 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Here's my two cents: 1) Obama, for whatever reasons, wants to be very inclusive which means, in this case, reaching out to and listening to the pro-Israel side. They are very important in U.S. domestic politics; and 2) even if he tried to force some sort of solution, it wouldn't work because the "Palesinian" demands are unmeetable ("East" Jerusalem, refugees, etc.) and then there's the problem of Gaza. Either you recognize Hamas or what? And what about territorial contiguity? Either Israel is contiguous or some sort of Palestinian state is, but not both. And then there is the issue of Jewish religious sites; and then....

There are so many issues standing in the way of a political solution, I doubt there will be any in your or my lifetime.


Post a Comment

<< Home