Jewish Right To Israel

Jewish Right To Israel
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Is This The Next Scenario For Middle East Talks?

In her blog, Laura Rozen writes On the Mideast, waiting for superman
Can you guess who superman is?
Another Washington Middle East hand who consults closely with the administration said he too has started to hear growing rumors in recent days of a possible official administration role on the Middle East peace process for Indyk. Under the arrangement that was described to that Middle East hand, the NSC's Dennis Ross would capitalize on his decent ties with Israel's Bibi Netanyahu to be a main administration point of contact with the Israelis, Indyk would capitalize on his good ties with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (universally referred to as Abu Mazen) to be a channel to the Palestinians, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be in charge.


Indyk, who has served in a consulting role to the team of Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell, professed Tuesday in response to a query that it was the first he had heard of any such plan.

Meantime, the New America Foundation's Steve Clemons said he is convinced that the man who can help Obama bring peace to the Middle East is former President Bill Clinton. That is the spouse of Obama's Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"Bill Clinton is the only guy I can think of who is trusted and liked by all sides," Clemons told POLITICO. "He is the only guy I know who successfully wrestled and pushed Netanyahu to do what he wants to do. And Clinton has spectacular popularity in Israel and Obama doesn't."

The former president "has granular understanding of every deal and piece of the deal - behind the scenes stuff that has been distorted and reframed," Clemons continued. "No one has a better grasp, ... sees the opportunity and has the global stature to both cajole, seduce and embarrass" the parties towards an agreement.

And under that scenario, which Clemons concedes is a float though one influenced by some kibitzing on the peace process with Bill Clinton at an event last week, how would Obama control the force that is Bill Clinton?

"Why would you want to control him," Clemons responded. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict "has become a global fault line in the eyes of the world, and a manifestation of America's weakness today. It has far greater significance" strategically "than northern Ireland. My bet is this is one of several defining issues" for the U.S. and the Obama administration, Clemons continued.

And how would Hillary Clinton not lose her authority as Secretary of State if her husband played such a role? "Hillary Clinton should embrace and support what he does, giving him the latitude to be a creative player," Clemons responded. "He can outmaneuver" the obstacles to an agreement and "all their corks will rise."
This is intriguing.

We are told that
Bill Clinton is the only guy I can think of who is trusted and liked by all sides...He is the only guy I know who successfully wrestled and pushed Netanyahu to do what he wants to do.
Apparently, when it comes to Israel, being trusted and liked only goes so far--the real requirement for diplomacy is being able to apply pressure.
Apparently, Obama has learned nothing.

And again, the same thing:
[Bill Clinton] has granular understanding of every deal and piece of the deal - behind the scenes stuff that has been distorted and reframed," Clemons continued. "No one has a better grasp, ... sees the opportunity and has the global stature to both cajole, seduce and embarrass" the parties towards an agreement.
Is the reason for sending in Bill Clinton that he has a unique understanding--something that is said of everyone who is sent into the Middle East--or is it the pressure that he can bring?

And how true is this:
And Clinton has spectacular popularity in Israel and Obama doesn't.
Obviously, I am referring talking about the first half of that sentence, not the last.

Is Bill Clinton really that popular in Israel? Is this based on one of those anonymous polls that periodically come out assuring us how much the Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza want peace?

As Obama himself has warned:
What you're going to see over the next several months is that at any given moment, either President Abbas or Prime Minister Netanyahu may end up saying certain things for domestic consumption, for their constituencies and so forth, that may not be as reflective of that spirit of compromise we would like to see. Well, that's the nature of these talks.
This time around, is all this talk about sending in Ross, Indyk and Bill Clinton also "for domestic consumption"?

Let's see if this "dream team" is actually sent after the November election.

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