Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Myth: Obama’s Mideast peace policy has failed.

The Facts: “Those who are writing off the administration's peace efforts, friend and foe alike, are being premature in the extreme. This is a benefit of starting on day one--you can acknowledge the need for a course correction in month ten. In fact, it is not the new approach of the Obama administration that has failed, but rather, this is a moment of clarity regarding the bankruptcy of the old approach that has guided policy for over a decade and that the Obama team had inherited and embraced.

"As Rob Malley and others have argued, what is needed now is a review (as has been conducted in other foreign policy areas) and a testing and likely abandonment of many of the prevailing policy assumptions. These might include

[1] the notion that one can incrementally build confidence between the sides when the prevailing reality is one of occupation,

[2] that bilateral negotiations between representatives of an occupied people and the occupying party can deliver de-occupation,

[3] that Palestinian political division should be encouraged (not overcome),

[4] or that proven self governance capacity under occupation is a precondition for freedom and independence.

"If the goal still is Israel's security, recognition, and a guaranteed future as a democracy and a Jewish national home, alongside a secure, viable, and post-occupation Palestine and advancing America's national interest, and this should be the goal, then a new path is needed for reaching that destination. It will certainly require more international and U.S. lifting.

"The Obama team is perfectly capable of charting a course from a bad week to a game-changing success, but more of the same won't get them there."

Daniel Levy, "On US Middle East Policy and Amateurism," The Washington Note