Last-Ditch Effort At A Mideast Legacy – The Jewish Press

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Last-Ditch Effort At A Mideast Legacy

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President Obama hardly projects an image of someone who gives up easily. If anything, his efforts with respect to Obamacare, immigration reform, and other projects at which he either succeeded or tried to end-run a resistant Congress, demonstrate just the opposite.

So we were not surprised by recent reports that despite recurrent comments from administration officials to the effect that the president has come to realize he will not resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there is some talk coming from the White House about Mr. Obama’s interest in laying the groundwork for a Mideast settlement that would come to fruition after he leaves office.

As The New York Times reported,


President Obama, resigned to his failure to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, is looking past his time in office and weighing a plan that would preserve at least the principle of a two-state solution for his successor to pursue.

The White House is debating whether the president should lay down the outlines of an agreement, several officials said, perhaps through a resolution at the United Nations Security Council or in a presidential speech. The objective would not be to revive direct negotiations – almost nobody believes that is likely now – but to enshrine the proposals Secretary of State John Kerry made during his last failed effort at peacemaking in 2014.

A Security Council Resolution, officials said, would give enduring legitimacy to the compromises that Mr. Kerry hammered out in private between the two sides, and build broad international support for a series of proposed solutions that could provide the framework for a future Israel-Palestinian agreement.


We hope this remains just talk. All previous attempts at achieving a peace deal with the proposals of third-party players (i.e., not Israel or the Palestinians) have led nowhere, with the Palestinians pocketing elements of the proposals they liked and rejecting any concessions asked of them.

Indeed, the notion of direct talks went steadily downhill after President Obama in 2011 announced his plan for negotiations based on the “1967 lines” coupled with “land swaps.” PA President Mahmoud Abbas took the 1967 lines as a given and refused any reasonable discussion concerning realistic land swaps. Moreover, for the past several years the administration has insisted that the Palestinians refrain from going to the United Nations in their pursuit of statehood and rely instead on face-to-face negotiations with Israel.

We can appreciate that Mr. Obama is desperate for a foreign policy achievement as his presidency winds down and that this latest proposal is his way of promoting his long-held vision for a new Middle East. But a direct negotiating process between Israel and the Palestinians, even with all the hurdles and headaches they entail, continues to be the most promising approach to any lasting solution.

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Last-Ditch Effort At A Mideast Legacy – The Jewish Press}