Click below for the audio of this exclusive briefing and primer.
The Obama administration has worked since day one to move Israelis and Palestinians toward a two-state outcome. Ahead of Wednesday’s re-launch of direct negotiations at the White House, the New America Foundation’s Steve Clemons, Daniel Levy, and Amjad Atallah briefed reporters on what to expect.
Daniel Levy, co-director of NAF’s Middle East Task Force, discussed what the Obama administration might do to get the Israelis on board for a two-state reality:
“There might be an Israeli ‘yes’ to de-occupation and a real two-state solution trying to find its way out. That Israeli ‘yes’ won’t come out on its own, a c-section will need to be performed in order to get it out. The only surgeon available to perform that c-section is President Obama.”
Steve Clemons, director of the American Strategy Program at the NAF, emphasized the regional component of the imminent Mideast peace push:
“American power in the region, and particularly in the security relationship Israel, is sort of like a New Orleans levy. It’s there, it might be working today, but it’s not particularly getting better. In the long run, a new equilibrium and refashioned security relationship needs to begin to take root in the Middle East, and that’s only possible in my view if we begin to move the Palestinian-Israeli mess onto a credible two-state track.”
Amjad Atallah, co-director of NAF’s Middle East Task Force, offered some optimism regarding tomorrow’s White House dinner with Israeli President Netanyahu, PLO Chairman Abbas, Egyptian President Mubarak, and Jordanian King Abdullah:
“There’s a lot in Washington that suggests President Obama might be the heroic leader to drive this forward -- not because he wants to, but because he’ll find that the necessity of the conditions facing the US in the region will require statesmanship and leadership, more than just muddling through.”