Washington Post on the Obama administration’s Israeli-Palestinian dilemma

Following up on yesterday’s post about the deadlocked Israeli-Palestinian peace process: the Washington Post has an editorial that neatly summarizes the dilemma the Obama administration faces.

“Has Mr. Abbas suddenly realized that settlements are the key obstacle to a Palestinian state?” the Post asks. “Hardly: In private, senior Palestinian officials readily concede that the issue is secondary. Instead, the Palestinian pose is a product of the Obama administration’s missteps — and also of the fact that the opportunity Mr. Obama said he perceived to broker a two-state settlement is not so visible to leaders in the region.”

Instead of plunging ahead with “energetic diplomacy by the United States (to) induce both sides to move quickly toward peace,” the administration would do better to focus on alternative proposals emanating from the Israelis and Palestinians themselves, the Post editorializes.

“At the moment, the most promising idea comes from Mr. Abbas’s prime minister, Salam Fayyad, who has vowed to build the institutions of a Palestinian state within the next two years, with or without peace talks. Negotiations between the current Israeli and Palestinian leaders could provide indirect support for that initiative, even if there is little progress. But the administration would do well to refocus its efforts on supporting Mr. Fayyad.”

Not what Peace Now and other dovish groups want to hear, but it does seem to conform to facts on the ground – and to the narrowing of the diplomatic options facing the Obama administration.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.