Will Realists Win Over Obama on Palestine?

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Ben Cohen
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By Ben Cohen

Roger Cohen from the NY Times writes about an interesting proposal from a group of political realists that was apparently handed to Obama by Paul Volcker last year. The proposal outlined a plan to create a sustainable peace agreement in the Middle East and looked for ways to neutralize Hamas's refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist. The plan is basically a replica of the Arab Peace Initiative worded in more Israeli friendly language, and has the backing of several Republicans and Foreign Policy specialists (not the crazy ones).

Mondoweiss congratulates Cohen on his advocacy of the plan, and points out the key to any negotiation is to recognize "That the difficulty of the Hamas charter not recognizing Israel's right
to exist is one of those international fictions that is easily
surmounted."

It will be interesting to see whether the plan is taken seriously by the Obama Administration, which has so far not shown a willingness to criticize Israel openly. According to Cohen, Obama promised to meet with the signatories of the letter at some point, a good sign given the previous Administration's refusal to work outside the neo con world view. Obama probably won't take any bold moves yet, but should he choose to, the proposal would be a very good start.