Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Barack Obama on Brink of Deal for Middle East Peace Talks

Curt Here...

A deal brokered by President Barack Obama to restart Middle East Peace talks appears close to being hammered out. According to the article posted below this deal will be announced by Obama at either the UN general assembly in New York sometime around September 23 or at the next G20 summit that will be held in Pittsburgh, Pa on the 24-25Th of September.

This deal will announce the resumption of peace talks with the hope that a final peace deal can be negotiated within 2 years. This proposed deal will include from Israel a nine to twelve month moratorium on settlement building that would exclude East Jerusalem.

My take on this proposed deal is that it appears to be more of the same. More talk of peace from both the Palestinians and the Israelis as well as many world leaders acting as if they are moving the process forward. However, if the ENP (The 7 year agreement that so many of us have been watching) has prophetic implications this proposed deal will not succeed, nor will it occur on the timeline that will be announced.

My guess is that this process will fail, like so many before it and when it does the world will say enough. The idea, as suggested by Javier Solana that a Palestinian State should be created by UN mandate and peace should be forced in the Middle East, I believe is still very much in play. When this latest round of peace negotiations fail, then the fireworks start.

I could be wrong of course, but this outcome in my mind seems much more likely than all sides finally agreeing to some sort of peace agreement.

Stay Tuned



Barack Obama is close to brokering an Israeli-Palestinian deal that will allow him to announce a resumption of the long-stalled Middle East peace talks before the end of next month, according to US, Israeli, Palestinian and European officials.

Key to bringing Israel on board is a promise by the US to adopt a much tougher line with Iran over its alleged nuclear weapons programme. The US, along with Britain and France, is planning to push the United Nations security council to expand sanctions to include Iran's oil and gas industry, a move that could cripple its economy.

In return, the Israeli government will be expected to agree to a partial freeze on the construction of settlements in the Middle East. In the words of one official close to the negotiations: "The message is: Iran is an existential threat to Israel; settlements are not."

Details of the breakthrough deal will be hammered out tomorrow in London, where the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, is due to hold talks with the US special envoy, George Mitchell. Netanyahu met Gordon Brown today in Downing Street, where the two discussed both settlements and the Iranian nuclear programme.

Although the negotiations are being held in private, they have reached such an advanced stage that both France and Russia have approached the US offering to host a peace conference.

Obama has pencilled in the announcement of his breakthrough for either a meeting of world leaders at the UN general assembly in New York in the week beginning 23 September or the G20 summit in Pittsburgh on 24-25 September.

The president, who plans to make his announcement flanked by Netanyahu and the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas – plus the leaders of as many Arab states as he can muster – hopes that a final peace agreement can be negotiated within two years, a timetable viewed as unrealistic by Middle East analysts.

Obama had hoped to unveil his plans before the start of Ramadan last weekend but failed to complete the deal with the Israelis or the Arab states in time.

As well as a tougher US approach to Iran, which the Israelis see as their top priority, the deal would see Israel offering a temporary and partial moratorium on the expansion of settlements on the West Bank in return for moves by Arab states towards normalisation of relations. This would allow Obama to announce talks on the bigger Israeli-Palestinian issues – borders, the future of Jerusalem and the future of Palestinian refugees – with the US sitting in as a mediator.

After the meeting at No 10 today, Netanyahu said he was hopeful that a compromise would be reached to allow the peace process to restart while Israeli settlers could "continue living normal lives". Brown said he emerged from the talks more optimistic about Middle East peace. He also pledged that if there were no immediate progress on the Iranian nuclear impasse, further sanctions would be "a matter of priority".

Although Netanyahu told his cabinet before leaving Israel that the deal would not be sealed in London tomorrow, he and Mitchell are now down to the fine detail.

Israel is offering a nine- to 12-month moratorium on settlement building that would exclude East Jerusalem and most of the 2,400 homes that Israel says work has already begun on.

Ian Kelly, a US state department spokesman, on Monday reflected the increasing optimism within the Obama administration, saying "we're getting closer to laying this foundation" for the resumption of talks.

Another official closely involved in the discussions said: "It has been pretty hard going but we are getting there. We are closer to a deal with the Israelis than many think. The Arabs are more difficult to pin down."

If Iran does not respond to UN demands that it stop enriching uranium by time of the UN and G20 summits, the US, Britain and France are to lead a UN security council push to expand sanctions, expected to target Iran's dependence on imports of refined petroleum products and its reliance on foreign technology to develop its oil and gas industry.

For more click the link...

1 comment:

the70thweek said...

Obama’s road map

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.

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.,7340,L-3768526,00.html