Friday, August 27, 2010

Obama's October Surprise?

Martin Indyk, Bill Clinton's ambassador to Israel, says President Obama has a better shot at brokering a Middle East peace deal than Clinton did -- and Clinton came pretty close in 2000. What's different: Less violence, a reduction in Israel's building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, a gathering consensus on both sides about a two-state solution, and the relatively small list of endgame issues. As for these, Indyk says, it all comes down to the will of three men:
Does President Abbas, already a weakened figure, have the courage to defend the necessary concessions to his people, particularly when it comes to conceding the “right of return” to Israel? Does Prime Minister Netanyahu have the determination to withdraw from at least 95 percent of the West Bank and to accept a Palestinian capital in Arab East Jerusalem? And does President Obama have the statesmanship to persuade both parties to make the deal and to reassure them that the United States will be there with a safety net if it fails?

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