"Barack Obama is to pursue an ambitious peace plan in the Middle East involving the recognition of Israel by the Arab world in exchange for its withdrawal to pre-1967 borders, according to sources close to America’s president-elect.
Obama intends to throw his support behind a 2002 Saudi peace initiative endorsed by the Arab League and backed by Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister and leader of the ruling Kadima party.
The proposal gives Israel an effective veto on the return of Arab refugees expelled in 1948 while requiring it to restore the Golan Heights to Syria and allow the Palestinians to establish a state capital in east Jerusalem.
On a visit to the Middle East last July, the president-elect said privately it would be “crazy” for Israel to refuse a deal that could “give them peace with the Muslim world”, according to a senior Obama adviser. " Times on line
Words can not express my disappointment if this is the foreign policy that the Obama Administration will follow in the Middle East.
The "Abdullah Plan" is not a plan. It was a public relations stunt in its beginnings when it was exaggerated in meaning by the American media, and it remains that. Crown Prince Abdullah used to have the habit of telling visitors that if the Israelis would do this or that, and withdraw from this or that, then he would appeal to the Arab League for recognition of the State of Israel. In the atmosphere that prevailed following the failure at Camp David II, this was taken as good news by Tom Friedman who visited Abdullah then and who made this Rotary Club "pitch" into a column. Rejoicing took place in the media and at a previously scheduled meeting of the Arab League in Beirut a cornered Prince Abdullah proclaimed his "plan." The League produced a document. Problem: The text says that when the Israelis and ALL the disputants to various issues with the Israelis resolve their differences, then the members of the League will CONSIDER recognition of Israel.
It is true that optimism is the soul of diplomacy, but a measure of realism should be accepted in exercising that optimism. The list of issues between Israel and the members of the Arab League is too long to enumerate here. Are we to believe that these issues will all be resolved in a way that has never occurred before so that a future general meeting of the Arab League votes to declare the "Peaceable Kingdom?" Are we to believe that an Israeli government of the day will yield gracefully to the demands of these many Arab "players" to produce this happy condition?
This is nonsense. Liberal partisans of Israel have long sought such an outcome. There are many such among Obama’s backers. They will be disappointed again, a sad thing, but the truth.
Is there any possibility that the "Happy Valley" scenario of the "Abdullah Plan" might unexpectedly succeed? Yes! Certainly! There could be a wave of good will and/or emotional exhaustion with conflict that might sweep the region and carry all before it. I will welcome this if it happens, but will not hold my breath until then.
And then there is what is reported in the Times on Line piece of the supposed Dennis Ross plan for dealing with the Iranian missile and nuclear programs. He is reported to think that Russia can be persuaded to "muscle" the Iranians into giving up these programs. What would be the Russian motivation? An American cancellation of anti-Iranian missile emplacements in eastern Europe? Do we want to "outsource" our diplomacy to Russia? One must ask why the Iranians would yield to Russian pressure. They have not yielded to any other pressure.
I do not believe in the Tooth Fairy. I do not believe in sacrificing the interests of the United States to benefit any other country. I do not believe in sudden outbreaks of good will.
I believe in hard headed negotiations on a country by country basis to reach attainable results. To do that one must be willing to compromise, and to bargain seeking win-win solutions.
If President Obama goes down the road outlined in the Times on Line piece, then at the end of his first year in office he will have accomplished nothing in the Middle East. pl