An Obama plan? Yes, we can!

An Obama plan? Yes, we can!

By editor on
Like nature, the Israeli-Palestinian situation abhors a vacuum. So, in the wake of the Joe Biden/East Jerusalem construction fiasco last month, and the apparent breakdown of plans for ‘proximity talks’, it’s no wonder that we are witnessing both increased tension and violence, as well as a swell in support for an American-authored peace plan.Reports this week in the Washington Post and New York Times suggest that an “Obama plan”, based on the “Clinton parameters“, is in the works and could be unveiled by this fall. For his part, Prime Minister Netanyahu seems to be trying to nip such an initiative in the bud. According to Netanyahu’s aides, the Prime Minister has stated that, “it won’t work and it won’t be acceptable if a settlement is forced on us.”

But Mossi Raz, the chairman of the Meretz party executive and a former Member of Knesset, thinks differently. In Haaretz this week, Raz came out strongly in favor of an American peace plan; or, as he terms it, the appointment of Barack Obama as the “peace arbitrator” between Israel and Palestine. Realizing that time is working against Israel, Raz hacks away at the longstanding Israeli taboo against a so-called “imposed solution”.

Segments of Raz’s op-ed, “Arbitrator of Peace” (currently available in full in Hebrew only), are translated below:

“Last week, the Arab League reconfirmed its peace initiative. It has again extended its hand in peace, and again Israel’s government has closed its hand tightly, choosing to bury its head in the sand …

“The components of the final-status deal are clear, and similar in all the peace initiatives. We just need to wrap up the details. But when even people of good will have a hard time reaching agreement, it’s no wonder that Binyamin Netanyahu and Tzipi Livni, in whom good will is not apparent, are stubbornly refusing to move an inch beyond their comfort zone.

“And even if the Prime Minister … or [Livni] … or even the Defense Minister [Ehud Barak]…, who will never evacuate the unauthorized outposts, were to negotiate with the Palestinian leadership, it’s doubtful they could reach an agreement. They can’t do it because of the coalition, because of the settlers, because they’re afraid to be seen as weak…

“For their part, the Palestinians are rather hamstrung as well. They have a strong, ultra-nationalist opposition, too…

“Without a comprehensive arrangement that can be brought before the Israeli and Palestinian publics as a single, defined and sealed deal, it will be nearly impossible to muster support. It appears that the parties themselves cannot break through this impasse. It will be possible to make progress only if the international community intervenes definitively, helps wrap up the negotiations and helps with an agreement’s subsequent implementation. Without active external intervention, negotiations are destined to fail.

“Public opinion polls show that the majority of the Israeli public is ready for such intervention… The public grasps that our relations with the US and the world are much more important than another settlement or another neighborhood in Jerusalem. The public knows that Israel, which has already complied more than once in the past with American pressure, didn’t suffer for it and didn’t regret it…

“Under these circumstances, Israel’s government – which is entrusted with Israel’s security, and social and economic interests, and supposedly realizes that these interests require a final-status arrangement with the Palestinians and the other countries around us – should approach [President] Obama and request that he take on the difficult and important role … of arbitrator between us and the Palestinians.

“The basis is clear: Decisions must be made about concrete questions such as precise borders, territorial exchanges, a multinational force … None of these questions require decisions of principle – they are essentially technical in nature. If we’re able to neutralize domestic political fears – on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides – regarding each and every detail of the agreement, it will be possible to finish the process within a few months…

“We, the citizens of a state that was established by decision of the United Nations, in accordance with a [recommendation] of what was essentially a committee of arbitration; a state which complied with American pressure to withdraw from Sinai (twice); and which agreed to accept international arbitration in the dispute [between Israel and Egypt] over Taba – we would only benefit from such arbitration now.”

By | 2010-04-09T14:19:06-04:00 April 9th, 2010|Blog, Civil Rights, Peace|0 Comments

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