From David Ignatius interview with National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones: "Jones is an activist on the Palestinian issue, which he lists as a top priority for the new administration. He wants the United States to offer a guiding hand in peace negotiations -- submitting its own ideas to help break any logjams between the Israelis and Palestinians. 'The United States is at its best when it's directly involved," Jones says. He cites U.S. diplomatic efforts in the Balkans. "We didn't tell the parties to go off and work this out. If we want to get momentum, we have to be involved directly.' This stance may antagonize the new Israeli government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, as may the prospect of U.S. diplomatic engagement with Iran. Ideally, the administration would like to explore a new security architecture for the Persian Gulf that recognizes Tehran's rising power but also sets limits. But officials caution that such broad talks won't happen quickly, given the mixed signals from Iran. For now, the administration opposes any Israeli military attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. Asked if that view had been conveyed to the Israeli government, a senior official answered: 'We have communicated with all regional actors that now is not the time for any kind of hostilities.'"Already, Israel seems to be indicating a greater readiness to accept a second Palestinian state--more so than what Netanyahu talked about prior to becoming Prime Minister. The question now is how much pressure will be applied to Netanyahu when he meets Obama, and how he will react.
Monday, May 04, 2009
National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones: "We Have To Be Involved Directly"
I just noticed that the Middle East Forum has an Obama Mideast Monitor. Here is their latest item: