Friday, June 17, 2011

U.S. Pushes New Effort on Peace by pressing Israel to accept indefensible 1967 lines

(WSJ).The White House this week dispatched its top Middle East negotiators, Dennis Ross and David Hale, to the region to try to gain Israeli and Palestinian agreement to resume negotiations based on parameters President Barack Obama laid out last month, according to U.S. and Israeli officials.

Mr. Obama called for utilizing Israel's borders before the 1967 Six-Day War as the baseline for new talks, while recognizing the need for some territorial adjustments—a plan Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected.

This intensified diplomatic activity is being driven by mounting concerns in Washington and Europe that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's push for a U.N. General Assembly vote on a state embodying the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem set for September could have far-reaching implications for Mideast stability. There are concerns a yes vote could raise expectations among Palestinians, hopes that might quickly succumb to violent discontent among Arab groups if the actual creation of an independent state remains elusive.

In recent days, Mr. Obama has sought to build public support for his position on the peace process, which has been strongly criticized by both Republicans and Democrats.