Archive for the ‘CALME Luminaries’ category

“This Time is Qualitatively Different” — Indyk

February 26, 2007

In an in-depth interview with the Council on Foreign Relations, CALME luminary Martin Indyk provided some insight into how Secretary Rice’s recent trilateral summit did mark a significant change for this Administration’s involvement in the pursuit of two states. 

He said, “These talks are qualitatively different from anything that she or the Bush administration has done before. And that’s for two reasons. One is that she has committed herself to a discussion between Abu Mazen and Olmert about the framework for a final status agreement, or what she calls a ‘political horizon.’ And what Rice is doing is discussing—not negotiating—what a future Palestinian state would look like. Now, that is different from anything the Bush administration has done in its previous six years in office because they absolutely refused to have any ‘political horizon’ in any of the things that they’ve produced. So, for instance, the ‘Road Map’ talks about a two-state solution as a final objective but gives no details about what that final agreement would look like. This is an attempt by her to give greater granularity to the president’s vision of an independent, democratic Palestinian state living alongside Israel.

“The second thing is that she has committed to a sustained engagement. One of the things she said at the end of her remarks on Sunday was that ‘I will be back shortly.’ And she has said elsewhere that she’s going to be coming back once a month. That’s qualitatively different because the Bush administration has never had a sustained engagement in peacemaking on the Israeli-Palestinian front. They talked a good game but always walked away from any kind of sustained engagement. ”

To read the full interview, please click here.

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Strengthening Abbas Will be Linked to Progress

February 23, 2007

CALME Luminary MJ Rosenberg published this article as this week’s IPF Friday.

Washington DC, February 23, 2007
Issue # 312

One State, Two States.  Do I Hear Three?

A few weeks ago I participated in a panel on the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  The panel consisted of a Palestinian-American spokesman and me.  The two of us have been teamed up before although we tend not to disagree on very much.  In other words, no fireworks.

Both of us support the two-state solution and, although there are differences between us on some of the issues that divide the two sides, they are minor compared to our agreement on the central issue.

My “job” was fairly easy.  Almost all the people in the audience were supporters of the two-state idea and, in fact, view it as the only possible solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  My Palestinian friend, on the other hand, was given a rough going over by some of his fellow Palestinians who oppose the two-state solution and favor Israel’s replacement by a state “for all the people who live there.”

At one point a Palestinian student — angered by my colleague’s insistence that the only alternative to two-states was a war that the Palestinians would lose — insisted that those advocating the one-state idea were not advocating violence.  “We don’t support violence against Israelis.  The state we envision can be established without violence.”

My friend laughed that off.  “So you think the Knesset will decide one day to simply declare the State of Israel out of existence? And that will be that?” (more…)

Bridging the Desert — Bringing Peace from a Palestinian’s Perspective

February 21, 2007

The Following is a Speech Delivered by Dr. Ziad Asali, President of Amerian Task Force on Palestine, at the World Affairs Council’s Conference “Bridging the Desert: The Middle East in the Next Decade.”

February 2, 2007

The Palestine/Israel conflict has been a defining feature of the global political landscape for decades. Its resolution would present a major challenge to the status quo and those who benefit from it. It also would badly damage the careers of the legions of Middle East experts the world over.

These experts have talked about us being at a crossroads with regard to resolving this issue and done so every year of every decade in every conference about this conflict. It is my misfortune to state, at this conference, that we are yet again at a crossroads, and perhaps this time it is for real.

(more…)

The White House’s Rehabilitating of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process

February 20, 2007

Last week, CALME luminary Martin Indyk offered testimony to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs regarding “Next Steps in the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process.”  He started explaining that when President Bush came to office, “The words ‘Middle East peace process’ were literally banned from the State Department’s lexicon. Instead, transformation in the Middle East was to take place on the Bush Administration’s watch not through peacemaking but through regime change and democratization. Six years later, the President’s strategy is in deep trouble, and there is now a new receptivity in Washington to relaunching the Middle East peace process.” 

He argues that one of the key reasons for turning to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is that the “neo-realists” in the White House believe that the only way to take on Iran, today’s leading focus, will be through a coalition of regional moderates led by the Sunni Arab states, and that those states will only agree to join together if the White House again focuses on bringing about an independent Palestinian state.

He said that as the President continues to focus on stifling Iran, “Secretary of State Rice has committed to making Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation her first priority. In pursuit of that priority, she will host a trilateral meeting with Prime Minister Olmert and President Mahmoud Abbas on February 19 in Jerusalem, and has committed to monthly visits to the region until she has prepared the ground for a major peace initiative. She deserves Congressional support for this effort.”

To read Indyk’s full testimony, please click here.

For Rice, First Step is a Viable Israeli-Palestinian Cease-Fire

February 16, 2007

In an op-ed published yesterday in the Washington Post, CALME luminary, former Middle East coordinator Dennis Ross spoke of the goals Secretary Rice should be working to accomplish on her impending trip to the region.  He said, “In Middle Eastern terms, what is logical and possible is intra-Palestinian peace and Palestinian-Israeli calm. That would argue for a comprehensive cease-fire to be negotiated between Abbas and Olmert. A deal would require all Palestinian attacks against Israelis to stop and all smuggling of weapons into Gaza or the West Bank to end. In return, the Israelis would stop all incursions, targeted killings and arrests. As Palestinians demonstrate that they are fulfilling their responsibilities, checkpoints would be lifted and crossing points opened, making economic revitalization possible.”

The full op-ed, in which he puts his recommendation into the context of the current state of play, follows the jump. (more…)

Positive Signs from Congress in Private, Questionable in Public

February 16, 2007

The following is CALME luminary MJ Rosenberg’s “IPF Friday” piece from today:

Kangaroo Congressional Hearing

The board of Israel Policy Forum was up on Capitol Hill this week to meet with key Senators and House members about the need to energize US efforts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The terrible weather was a blessing in disguise. Fifteen minute meetings stretched into a half hour while half hour meetings lasted almost an hour.

We met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Presidential Candidate Barack Obama, and Senators Kennedy, Kerry, Sununu, Murray, Cantwell and Hagel and newly elected Senators Webb, Brown, and McCaskill. The next day, we focused on House Members from the Pacific Northwest and Nita Lowey, the new Chair of the House Appropriations Committee on Foreign Operations, and the first Muslim to serve in Congress, Keith Ellison.

These meetings (with the legislators and usually a top aide) left our delegation feeling that this is a new day on Capitol Hill. Each of these legislators understands that progress toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is central to securing US interests throughout the Arab and larger Muslim world. Each recognizes that ending the conflict is critical to the security of the State of Israel. Each knows that resistance to vigorous US diplomatic activity is just about the worst approach for those of us worried about America’s standing in the world and Israel’s security as a nation. (more…)

Congress Takes a Look at the Potential for Peace

February 13, 2007

The House Committee on Foreign Affairs will take up the dauting issue of prospects for peace tomorrow.  The full notice is as follows:

SUBCOMMITTEE HEARING NOTICE

Committee on Foreign Affairs

Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515-0128

Gary L. Ackerman (D-NY), Chairman

February 12, 2007

***REVISED***

 TO:     MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS

             You are respectfully requested to attend an OPEN hearing of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, to be held in Room 2172 of the Rayburn House Office Building: 

 DATE:                        Wednesday, February 14, 2007

 TIME:                        2:30 p.m.       

 SUBJECT:                 Next Steps in Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process

 WITNESSES:            Mr. David Makovsky

                                    Director

                                    Project on the Middle East Peace Process

                                    The Washington Institute for Near East Polic

                                     The Honorable Martin S. Indyk

                                    Director

                                    Saban Center for Middle East Policy

                                    The Brookings Institution

                                    The Honorable Daniel Pipes

                                    Director

                                    Middle East Forum