Obama: Middle East peacemaker?

Obama may be working on an ambitious peace plan for the Israelis and the Palestinians. Would it stand a chance of working?

President Obama
(Image credit: Corbis/Brooks Kraft)

Despite a recent cooling of relations between the United States and Israel, President Barack Obama is "seriously considering" developing an American peace plan to resolve the conflict between the Jewish state and the Palestinians, senior officials tell Washington Post columnist David Ignatius. The plan would reportedly seek to resolve border issues, the "right of return" for Palestinian refugees and the final status of Jerusalem. But will Obama really offer a solution — and, if so, does it stand a chance of bringing peace to Middle East?

This proposal would only exacerbate the situation: The recent "inability of Israelis and Palestinians to get to the negotiating table is...an iatrogenic disease," says Elliott Abrams in the Weekly Standard. "Our diplomatic doctors have caused it" — specifically, the "astonishing incompetence" of Obama and special envoy George Mitchell. And this "dangerous" plan to "impose" peace on Israel only stands to make matters worse by removing the Palestinians' incentive to "compromise."

"Terms of endearment"

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Obama seems to following a long-term strategy — keep watching: "Everything the Obama administration has done" in the Middle East, says Daniel Levy in Foreign Policy, "could be retroactively explained as preparation for this great moment of pivoting to a plan." But whether or not the Israelis and Palestinians will answer "yes" to a peace agreement relies upon asking the "right question." And that's what Obama's working hard to do.

"An Obama Middle East peace plan: Is it real? Is it smart?"

It sounds too good to be true: "I am skeptical that this is anything more than messaging and outside-advocacy at this point," says Laura Rozen in Politico. White House officials are giving no indication "that the U.S. is close to putting out its plan." In fact, we seem to still be "stuck trying to get proximity talks" — a necessary precursor to a peace plan — underway. The administration would be wise to "go in with something like bridging proposals, not the Obama peace vision/plan."

"Is Obama about to unveil his Middle East peace plan?"

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