US President Barack Obama's new peace plan for the Middle East continues to unravel, ahead of it official presentation in Cairo, on June 4.Obviously, having leaks about what Obama promised or did not promise--in advance of the official announcement of his peace plan--is not a good thing. On the other hand, whether that qualifies as 'unraveling' is unclear. Nor is it clear just what unraveling was going on that this revelation is supposed to be a continuation of.
Official Palestinian Authority sources told Ynet Wednesday that following Jordan's King Abdullah's visit to Washington, as well as other visits to the US capital, they were given the impression that any new American peace plan would call for establishing a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
The source stressed that the US official also assured them the new plan would include halting all settlement construction, as well as setting a clear timetable for the realization of the two-state solution and a commitment that the permanent peace agreement would be negotiated according to the understanding set by the Arab peace initiative. [emphasis added]
As it is, analysis of what went on between Obama and Netanyahu is not unanimous. Shmuel Rosner writes that you can basically have your pick:
Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu did their thing, and even the fearsome elite punditry isn’t sure if Obama ended up “being the sucker” (Martin Indyk), or if Netanyahu was “outmaneuvered” by the President (David Ignatius).
The new speculation that the Palestinian revelations engender will only make the issue more unclear.
One thing that is known is that Obama wants to make changes in the Saudi plan--the one he denied be interested in back in November, but has been showing increased interest in ever since.
The US plans to add "improvements" to the Arab peace plan: According to an early May report in London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi, the revised plan will include reintegrating Palestinian refugees either in various Arab nations, or in the demilitarized Palestinian state, and Israel and the Palestinian Authority would agree to a land exchange.Apparently the PA officials are not the first to be dropping hints about what Obama intends for East Jerusalem.
The revised plan is also said to call for east Jerusalem to be made the new state's capital – with the Palestinian Authority's flag waving over it official institutions and the UN banner waving over the Old City and places sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
The US is also expected to demand Arab nations set a timetable to the normalization of their diplomatic relations with Israel – a step meant to encourage Jerusalem to take practical steps towards forming a Palestinian state.
At the same time, Israel appears to be standing firm:
Acting Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said, "Jerusalem will not be divided. Jerusalem will forever remain the eternal capital of the State of Israel. This is not a promise, this is a fact."