Saturday, August 29, 2009

Obama’s road map

Part 2 of analysis: Ron Ben-Yishai says America will soon unveil its new peace plan

September 2009 will apparently see a major shake-up in the Middle East. If everything will go according to plan, it will be a month where almost all the players active in this arena will be reshuffling the deck and sitting at the table in order to formulate a simultaneous “all-inclusive” process” – ranging from the release of Gilad Shalit to the handling of the Iranian nuclear program. Part I
Prepare for rocky September / Ron Ben-Yishai
Part 1 of analysis: Ron Ben-Yishai reviews expected developments on Gaza front
Full story
The Obama Administration is indeed supposed to stimulate the process, yet the major roles are reserved for the regional players. These are supposed, in line with advance coordination with Washington, to show initiative and creativity on separate channels – all these developments coming together should break the dead-end currently in place in the Middle East.

The phase of coordinating plans and expectations is being carried out at this time, and we are already seeing significant progress. The official launch will take place ahead of, during, and after the United Nations General Assembly, scheduled for September 23rd. The process will mostly start in three (and a half) channels.

The peace process

The second channel to be pursued is the diplomatic core of the entire process. The American administration will finally present a plan for a permanent resolution of the conflict. This will be “Obama’s road map,” which aside from the implementation of the two-state vision is also supposed to prompt the normalization of ties between Israel and moderate Arab states.

The plan’s launch will take place with much pomp and circumstances during a summit meeting bringing together Obama, Netanyahu, and Abbas, likely on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly discussions.

The American plan will apparently include two main components: First, an outline for conducting the negotiations. Secondly, a general draft of the components of a solution which the US views as appropriate and just.

As a confidence-building measure to launch the move, Israel will have to provide an obligation to freeze settlement construction (the details have not been worked out yet.). Meanwhile, the Palestinian “dowry” is supposed to be provided by Arab states, which are supposed to express their conditioned willingness for normalization.

For example, this will include approval for civilian aircraft to travel through Saudi airspace en route from Israel to the Far East. For the time being, the Arabs condition their readiness for such move on an Israeli obligation to completely freeze all settlement and construction activity, including in east Jerusalem.

Immediately after the three-way summit meeting and the unveiling of Obama’s “road map,” we will see the first direct meeting between Netanyahu and Abbas where direct talks will be launched. All of this is supposed to take place in the last week of September.

Comment: Mistake upon mistake-when will he learn?

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