As the Palestinians continue to refuse to negotiate with Israel and despite eight years of a failed foreign policy in the Middle East, President Obama will attempt to jump-start Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in his last months in office by forcing Israel to accept Palestinian demands, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The White House is working on plans to force Israel, against its national interests, to accept a diplomatic resolution with the Palestinians before President Barack Obama leaves office, including a possible United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution that would outline a deal between the Israelis and Palestinians and which includes the partition of Jerusalem, Israel’s capital.
According to senior US officials quoted by the Wall Street Journal in a Monday report, the White House’s plans are aimed at offering a blueprint for future Israeli-Palestinian talks in a bid to advance a critical foreign-policy initiative that has made little progress during Obama’s two terms in the White House.
The strongest element on the list of options under consideration is US support for a UNSC resolution calling on both sides to compromise on key issues, something Israel had opposed and Washington has repeatedly vetoed in the past, because it would force Israel to accept terms which would damage its national security and other interests.
Other initiatives could include pressure on Israel by and through other international entities and venues.
One scenario has the US pushing Israel to recognize east Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state. The Palestinians would in turn be asked to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and end claims on a right of return for the so-called Palestinian refugees, a fundamental step they have refused to take through decades of negotiations.
Under that scenario, the administration also would recommend the establishment of two states based on the 1949 armistice line, leaving Israel with slim and indefensible borders.
An official in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office declined to comment on the White House plans.
Palestinian officials said they would welcome an intervention from Obama before he leaves office, as they welcome any international pressure on Israel over direct negotiations.
Mounting a push for a Security Council resolution would be a significant shift in US policy. Successive Democratic and Republican administrations have vetoed dozens of Security Council resolutions critical of Israel. The Obama administration vetoed a Security Council resolution in 2011 that declared Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal.
The White House discussions come as Vice President Joe Biden begins a visit to Israel on Tuesday.
This report was published amid claims made by the White House that it offered Netanyahu a meeting with Obama later this month, but Netanyahu declined. Netanyahu’s office rebuffed the claims.
The WSJ points out that for Obama, the effort would represent an uphill climb, and prospects for success in this realm are slim, especially in wake of six months of Palestinian terrorist attacks, which have been incited by the Palestinian leadership. Obama and his staff are skeptical of the move as well.