Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Plan for Peace

Middle East Peace, specifically Israeli-Palestinian peace, seems to be a Utopian vision. We've been talking about since long before I was born. We've seen wars of words and missiles, but no real resolution. The United States has been involved more or less in this process from the beginning, but for a variety of reasons we've not been able to broker a true and lasting peace.

Richard Cohen speaks today in an op-ed piece entitled "The Fierce Urgency of Peace," about a plan drafted by a group of eminent American leaders and given to President Obama late last year by Paul Volker, a senior economic advisor. It was developed by such figures as Brent Scowcroft (a Bush senior adviser that Bush junior ignored), along with "Zbigniew Brzezinski, former Senator Chuck Hagel, former World Bank President James Wolfensohn, former U.S. Trade Representative Carla Hills, former Congressman Lee Hamilton and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Thomas Pickering."

It is a four point plan, which you can read about in the article, but a center piece of it is a change in perspective on Hamas. By dealing with it as we have, requiring it to go on record with a de jure recognition of Israel's right to exist, we've accomplished nothing except undermine and weaken Fatah. The suggestion is that we work with and strengthen the hand of the moderate elements of Hamas, who may not be willing to give Israel de jure recognition, but would work with and honor a peace deal with Israel -- a de facto recognition. Cohen reminds us that Israeli governments have endorsed a two-state solution, even though parties in that government weren't willing to endorse Palestinian statehood. Is this any different.

Cohen suggests that Obama is open to meeting with the group of 10 who developed the plan, and Cohen suggests it should quickly become the new road map! May peace become reality and not simply a Utopian dream!

1 comment:

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

I saw Jehan Sedat, widow of Anwar, on The Rachel Maddow Show last night promoting her peace book. It is reassuring to remember that the Israeli-Egyptian Peace Treaty, which everyone believed would fail, has now lasted 30 years.

Another good development is that Ehud Barak has entered Bibi's Israeli govt. This gives Netanyahu a way to reject the extreme rightwingers, though he is also a rightist.

There are good signs, but the window of opportunity is small.