Saturday, January 16, 2010

Decreasing interest in the two-state solution. US still trying to sort out the basics.

From The Jewish Week, 12/1/10, by James D. Besser, Washington Correspondent [my emphasis added - SL]:

The Obama administration is set to open a new chapter in Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy ...Despite some press reports, Washington is unlikely to ratchet up pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or spell out detailed U.S. positions on critical issues like borders and the status of Jewish settlement blocks.

...there is a growing sense in Washington that the Obama administration — chastened by its early misstep on settlements and its premature promises of quick progress in restarting stalled negotiations, and with new concerns about terrorism dominating the agenda — is crafting a low-key, pragmatic plan that limits expectations, rejects dramatic public events and takes into account the political dilemmas...

...Barry Rubin, director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center in Israel [said] “They are all trying to pretend that the problem isn’t the PA’s intransigence, which of course dooms them to failure. As I have repeatedly stated: the administration has no way to get the PA to the negotiating table, especially since it won’t dream of pressuring it. The administration has only itself to blame for its failures.”

While some press reports suggest the flurry of activity in recent days points to a dramatic new peace move, many analysts say the administration has something different in mind.

...Edward Walker, a former state department official and onetime U.S. ambassador in Tel Aviv, said that what’s shaping up may be more a diplomatic holding action than a serious ratcheting up of U.S. involvement....“There’s nothing new that would warrant a new U.S. peace push at this time,” Walker said. “The Palestinians are still conflicted and unable to operate together; the Israeli government is incapable of moving on the settlement issue, given its composition, without falling. And generally, there is decreasing interest around the world in the two-state solution.”...

...Walker also argued that claims the administration’s Mideast policy shop is getting its act in order may be premature. “The story I’m getting out of the State Department is that there is enormous disorganization in the administration on this; they just don’t seem to have as coherent, unified policy. They’re still trying to sort out the basics.”
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