Obama’s Regional Plan
By Ted Belman
As I have written many times, forget about the Roadmap and Annapolis. Obama is developing his own plan which bypasses negotiations and dictates the end game.
Ynetnew reports U.S.-led Mideast Quartet envoy Tony Blair informed Palestinian reporters Tuesday evening of a new strategy aimed at renewing Israel-Palestinian peace negotiations. The plan, which is being drafted by the “highest level” of the Obama administration, will provide the Quartet with “a new framework,” in the coming weeks according to Blair.
Al-Quds al-Arabi quotes Palestinian sources as saying that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan revising Arab peace plan at Obama’s request to make it acceptable to US, Israel; new initiative to call for settling Palestinian refugees in Arab countries, future Palestinian state
The sources were also quoted as saying that the initiative will enable the Israeli flag to be displayed in Arab countries, while Israel will allow the Palestinian flag to be hung in Arab neighborhoods in east Jerusalem, which, according to the initiative, will be the capital of the Palestinian state. The UN flag will adorn sites in Jerusalem’s Old City that are holy to the three major religions.
The Palestinians said the suggested amendments will require holding an Arab summit.
The offer will reportedly call for the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and the Old City designated as an “international zone.”The question of borders will be resolved with land swaps.
Some of the descendants of Palestinian refugees from Israel’s War of Independence in 1948 will reportedly be allowed a right of return to the Palestinian state, while others will be naturalized in their countries of residence throughout the Arab world.
According to the report, the idea of a revised Arab peace plan emerged during Abdullah’s meeting with Obama in Washington last month. The US president had reportedly asked his guest to formulate a new offer that would elucidate some of the issues that remain vague in the original initiative. Immediately upon returning to Amman, Abdullah took off for Riyadh in order to begin hammering out the new plan with his Saudi counterpart.
Palestinian sources quoted in the report said that Obama had requested that the plan outline a “timetable for normalization and the establishment of diplomatic ties between Israel and the Arab world, which will encourage Israel to employ the necessary means in order to create a demilitarized Palestinian state.”
Israel National News Report: Obama’s Master Plan for the Middle East
- U.S. President Barack Obama told Jordan’s King Abdullah two weeks ago to meet with leading Muslim Arab countries and persuade them to accept changes in the Saudi 2002 Initiative, according to the London-based Arabic language Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper.
President Obama’s major proposed alteration in the Saudi peace plan is for Arab countries to grant citizenship to approximately five million Arabs who are descendants of former Israelis while allowing them the right to move to a new Palestinian Authority country.
President Obama also reportedly told the king that he wants the United Nations flag raised over holy sites in eastern Jerusalem, where the PA would have total sovereignty under the Saudi plan.
Al Quds did not specify any other “concessions” to Israel but said that Arab countries should consider “other changes,” none of which were specified.
The president’s master plan calls for Arab countries to set a timetable for raising the Israeli flag in their capitals, a sign of recognition of the Jewish State. Simultaneously, the PA flag would be raised in Jerusalem neighborhoods, a move that would virtually make the Fatah-led government the de facto government in a significant portion of the Jewish capital.
Obama’s team has moved ahead at high speed on all tracks, including proposals for direct negotiations with Syria and diplomatic initiatives towards Iran, and it has put the ball in the court of Israel and the Arabs to accept his proposals and show that they want to reach an agreement.
I am not expecting Syria to approve of this so quickly. Nor am I expecting Israel to agree to the UN flag flying in the Old City so quickly because it would have implications for who’s in charge and the UN is no friend of Israel’s. Keep in mind that Obama will be pushing to internationalize the Old City.
When Peres met with Obama, he curiously said “there is no space between us and the United States.” Could he have been referring to this plan?
But to his credit when talking to Biden, he said “ending natural growth in settlements was a non-starter.”
“Israel cannot instruct settlers in existing settlements not to have children or get married,” Peres said.
Peres also rejected the idea of “linkage” between the Palestinian and Iranian issues, two topics the US administration has frequently mentioned together.
Good for him.
The only thing left to complete the Plan is to propose borders based on the fence and swaps of land. But the issue of Ariel and Maalot Adumin have to be resolved. In or out? Will Obama push for the position of the PA or Kadima. Whatever he does he will have Arab approval for it. I suspect somewhere in between but closer to the position of the PA.
Keep in mind that for the first time the Saudis, Jordanians and Egyptians want a deal so they are bending a bit to accomodate it. But you still have your rejectionist camp, lead in the Arab world by the Syrians.
Even if Syria was ready to abandon rejectionism, they would demand all of the Golan back. Then Iran would have something to say. They would demand that Israel give up its nuclear weapons in exchange for them doing so. Of course they would have to agree to accept the Plan and stop supporting their proxies.
China Confitential reports on Iran and Obama’s War of Necessity
The Obama administration believes it may need Iranian assistance or cooperation for a limited war of necessity–an American military intervention in Pakistan to secure the country’s nuclear arsenal. Hence, the “grand bargain” that America’s defense secretary, Robert M. Gates, denies is in the works and China Confidential analysts insist is actually taking shape in spite of some setbacks.
This is the regional solution Obama is working toward.