Sunday, November 16, 2008


clipped from:
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.

a 2002 Saudi peace initiative endorsed by the Arab League and backed by Tzipi Livni,

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.

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”,

Shimon Peres

commended the initiative

A bipartisan group of senior foreign policy advisers urged Obama to give the Arab plan top priority immediately after his election victory. They included Lee Hamilton, the former co-chairman of the Iraq Study Group, and Zbigniew Brzezinski, a Democrat former national security adviser. Brzezinski will give an address tomorrow at Chatham House, the international relations think tank, in London.

Brent Scowcroft, a Republican former national security adviser, joined in the appeal.

The advisers have told Obama he should lose no time in pursuing the policy in the first six to 12 months in office while he enjoys maximum goodwill.

Obama is also looking to break a diplomatic deadlock over Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons technology

persuade Russia to join in tough economic sanctions against Iran by offering to modify the US plan for a “missile shield” in eastern Europe

“if the Iranian threat goes away, so does the principal need to deploy these [antimissile] forces

Daniel Kurtzer, a former American ambassador to Israel


the broader Arab plan “had a lot of appeal”.

Livni, the leader of Kadima, which favours the plan, is the front-runner in Israeli elections due in February. Her rival, Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of Likud, is adamantly against withdrawing to borders that predate the Six Day war in 1967.

Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, last week expressed his support for Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank Golan and east Jerusalem.

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