Archive for June 25th, 2011

June 25, 2011

Thinking Proactively

Four Israeli Jews with strong credentials argue in a New York Times op-ed that the Palestinian push at the UN in September can be a moment used constructively to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. (Malley made a similar argument, in brief)

This op-ed is important.

Leaving aside the details for a moment, this is leadership. Rather than simply rejecting the other side’s policy, the op-ed is taking the Palestinian move seriously and thinking about how it can be used to further the peace process (or, more deeply, how to bring about a genuine resolution) and advance Palestinian and Israeli interests. The authors seek  “the components of a possible “win-win” U.N. resolution regarding Palestinian statehood.” (my emphasis) 

Moreover, the op-ed is historically grounded, working in  U.N. General Assembly resolution 181 of 1947, the Arab Peace Initiative, and other building blocks of the past.

The authors do not try to resolve all the hardest issues. They address the “refugee /right-of-return issue” only in passing. But they do offer a list of principles that could guide a final agreement. In the Obama-Netanyahu spat over 1967, they endorse the Obama stance:

Accordingly, support the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state on the basis of the 1967 lines with its capital in East Jerusalem in parallel with Israel’s recognized capital in West Jerusalem, and with mutually agreed territorial swaps and modifications, subject to negotiation — a state that will live side by side with Israel in peace and security.

They also set broad terms for how to 1) move forward with the two-state solution and 2) set rules for bringing in Gaza and Hamas.

President Obama may have boxed himself into a corner by publicly opposing the Palestinian plan for UN action: “Symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won’t create an independent state.”  I hope it is not too late for the Obama administration to consider support for this different, win-win course that would embrace, not isolate, Israel.