Sunday, September 6, 2009

Barack Obama and the Middle East Peace Plan

"Obama facing hurdles to nuclear disarmament goals" The Associated Press, By Desmond Butler (3/9/2009): Five months after President Barack Obama, with great fanfare, called for a world free of nuclear weapons, a crucial step toward that goal is running into resistance. There is little indication Obama will have the votes he needs for a cornerstone of his nonproliferation efforts: Senate ratification of a nuclear test ban treaty. If Obama can't get the treaty approved, he probably will have a hard time persuading the rest of the world to rein in nuclear weapon programs... "If you build it, the state will come" The Guardian, By Ziad Asali (4/9/2009): Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad's blueprint for what he has called "de facto Palestinian statehood" offers a new and important element to the quest for peace in the Middle East. Peace between Israel and the Palestinians hinges on recognition and security for Israel and freedom and independence for a Palestinian state. Fayyad's model emphasises the importance of the reality of the Palestinian state as a functioning entity, irrespective of international recognition and grand diplomatic gestures. By doing so, Fayyad challenges the sole reliance on political and rhetorical tools of diplomacy and international recognition, the traditional path through which Palestinians have sought statehood... The plan is a call to action for Palestinians to establish "strong state institutions capable of providing, equitably and effectively, for the needs of our citizens, despite the occupation", and "to establish a de facto state apparatus within the next two years". The 38-page document lays out the generalised blueprint for the Palestinian Authority to begin to transform itself into a functioning, responsive and responsible government as if the Palestinians had independence, and in preparation for independence... Fayyad has described a two-year timeframe for the initial implementation of his de facto statehood plan, consistent with President Obama's stated intention of achieving an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement... "Peres: Palestinian state first, full peace later" The Associated Press, By Dan Perry and Alessandra Rizzo (4/9/2009): Israeli President Shimon Peres, a longtime advocate of peace with the Palestinians, said Friday that a comprehensive settlement resolving the century-old dispute was not currently achievable. He called instead for a Palestinian state under a provisional arrangement even without a formal peace deal... "US harshly rebukes Israel on settlement plans" The Associated Press, By Matthew Lee (5/9/2009): Alarmed by Israeli plans to build new housing units in settlements and dimming prospects for American peace efforts, the Obama administration on Friday put out a rare and harsh public rebuke of its main Mideast ally... "United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement expansion and we urge that it stop," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement. "We are working to create a climate in which negotiations can take place, and such actions make it harder to create such a climate..." "Binyamin Netanyahu pushes Barack Obama into a corner with settlement plan" The Times Online, By James Hider (5/9/2009): Israel’s plans to have one last burst of settlement building in the West Bank before agreeing to a temporary, partial freeze is a slap in the face to the Obama Administration and a warning to the Palestinians that it intends to fight for every inch of land... Backing down now would involve a serious loss of face for Mr Obama and a victory for Mr Netanyahu that would set the tone for any talks that could still be salvaged from the crumbling US plan. But the Israeli leader may be reckoning that his US ally is so deeply bogged down in a worsening war in Afghanistan, the global financial crisis, selling unpopular healthcare reforms and facing down a potentially nuclear Iran that he will take his eye off the ball in this crucial area. Click here for more media monitoring reports about Israel and its security