Does Obama Have a Mideast Plan B?


My latest at TIME.com

It’s hardly surprising that President Barack Obama chose to schedule a White House visit by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the dead of night on Monday, because right now Obama has little to show for his 10-month effort to revive a Middle East peace process. The Israeli leader’s refusal to abide by Washington’s demand for a complete freeze of settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem — and the Palestinians’ refusal to enter talks without one — has left the Obama Administration’s plans in tatters, with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas threatening to resign and pull the plug on the PA and the peace process of which it forms a part.

Netanyahu insists that Israel is ready for unconditional talks; he blames the stalemate on the Palestinians for making the settlement freeze a precondition. But Netanyahu also refuses to accept that such talks be directed toward establishing a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital — and that’s the minimum the Palestinians are prepared to accept. Abbas, meanwhile, feels betrayed that the Obama Administration has backed down from its own insistence that Israel halt construction in occupied territory. That, say the Palestinians, is clear evidence that Washington won’t pressure Israel to do things it’s not willing to do, and that it’s therefore pointless to go through the motions of yet another series of negotiations with an Israeli government more hawkish than its predecessors. (See pictures of Obama’s overseas trips.)

Obama had prioritized resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But his demands — of a complete settlement freeze by Israel and reciprocal gestures toward normalizing ties with Israel by Arab governments — has been rejected on both sides. And while no recent Administration has had much success in this realm, veterans of the peace process concur that the President’s initial approach was flawed. It may have even done more harm than good, they argue, by raising expectations that could not be met, leaving both sides mistrustful of Washington’s intentions and creating a situation where either Netanyahu or Abbas would be painted into a corner. (That turned out to be Abbas, after Netanyahu rejected Obama’s demands.)

Read the rest here

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13 Responses to Does Obama Have a Mideast Plan B?

  1. Poker says:

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  2. DevinWeiss says:

    Barack Obama’s book, “The Audacity of Hope,” has a catchy title. It has an idea of bravery mixed confidently. You’ll find nothing Pollyanna about that. I would possibly not support every part he tells, but he’s our president, as well as for me, he inspires confidence. Which will do more for a nation than any number of backroom deals. Hope gives us energy, and energy sustains us through trying times. Boy, we’ve had them. I’m from West Texas, and I did not vote for Bush. When McCain ran against Obama, I used to be a citizen of Arizona, but I gave audacious hope a chance. The fight for progress and laying the foundations of prosperity is not over. I’ve seen the quips of those who don’t believe Obama can make it. But step back a moment. Would anyone have most of us fail in order to tarnish the star of an incumbent for whom they didn’t vote? Keeping our priorities straight, let’s work together with this president and build our future.

  3. Antoony says:

    Yeah, I hope so, I really hope that Mr. President Barack Obama has a plan B to achieve peace in the Middle East. I am really happy when he was elected for the president of US.

  4. Antoony says:

    He should have! Facing the mideast condition which is never ending, Mr. Obama must create and prepare plan B until Z. Am I too much excessive?

  5. John says:

    The plain fact is the middle east has been one of the most fiercely debated topics in history, and will continue to be no matter the circumstance or leader.

  6. Rosinante says:

    Here is a plan just in case he doesn’t.
    Drop Israel from the negotiations. They can’t screw up a negotiation they are not part of.
    Negotiate with Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia for each of them to take a percentage of those Arabs that call themselves Palestinians. In turn the USA will cut off ALL arms sales and money transfers to Israel.
    WE can even show a profit, or less of a loss. You could buy every Arab in Israel for the cost of the tires off a F-22.
    It won’t happen, since neither side is interested in peace, other then the peace of the grave. Both sides are more then willing to provide that sort of peace arrangement for the other side. Eager even.

  7. Andri says:

    The mideast problem which is never ending,Obama must create and prepare everything to get it done!

  8. it is really very interesting..the plan is important..you analysis very detailed…

  9. UNF says:

    Dear Mr Karon,

    the fact that you managed to churn lengthy quotes of worthless bullcrap bloviation from the likes of Elliot Abrams whilst never mentioning the word ‘Hamas’, much less a quote from the only legitimate political representatives of the Palestinian People, shows how deeply co-opted you have become in the U$-Imperialist Agenda.
    Your garbage output posing as analysis is simply a waste of time for any serious reader.

    Sincerely, etc.

  10. Very Nice Website! I just found it on Google! Thanks for Sharing

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