Friday, November 21, 2008


clipped from:

We believe that the Arab-Israeli peace process is one issue that requires priority attention.

Immediate attention to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute would help cement the goodwill that Obama's election engendered. Not everyone in the Middle East views the Palestinian issue as the greatest regional challenge, but the deep sense of injustice it stimulates is genuine and pervasive.

...will not resolve the issue by Jan. 20. But to let attention lapse would reinforce the feelings of injustice and neglect in the region

Lurking in the background is the possibility that the quest for a two-state solution may be abandoned by the Palestinians, the Israelis, or both -- with unfortunate consequences for all.

Resolution of the Palestinian issue would have a positive impact on the region.
  • It would liberate Arab governments to support U.S. leadership in dealing with regional problems, as they did before the Iraq invasion.
  • It would dissipate much of the appeal of Hezbollah and Hamas, dependent as it is on the Palestinians' plight.
  • It would change the region's psychological climate, putting Iran back on the defensive and putting a stop to its swagger.

four principal elements:
  • 1967 borders, with minor, reciprocal and agreed-upon modifications;
  • compensation in lieu of the right of return for Palestinian refugees;
  • Jerusalem as real home to two capitals;
  • and a nonmilitarized Palestinian state.

Israeli security concerns
  • deploying an international peacekeeping force, such as one from NATO, which could not only replace Israeli security but train Palestinian troops to become effective

To date,
  • the weakness of the negotiating parties has limited their ability to come to an agreement by themselves.
  • The elections in Israel scheduled for February are certainly a complicating factor,
  • as is the deep split among Palestinians between Fatah and Hamas.

But if the peace process begins to gain momentum,
  • it is difficult to imagine that Hamas will want to be left out, and
  • that same momentum would provide the Israeli people a unique chance to register their views on the future of their country.

the president speaking out
  • clearly and forcefully about the fundamental principles of the peace process;
  • he also must press the case with steady determination.
  • followed by the appointment of a high-level dignitary to pursue the process on the president's behalf,
  • a process based on the enunciated presidential guidelines.

Such a presidential initiative should instantly galvanize support, both domestic and international, and provide great encouragement to the Israeli and Palestinian peoples

But in many ways the current situation is such that the opportunity for success has never been greater, or the costs of failure more severe.

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