A senior administration official told me yesterday that those who think that President Obama is simply going to give up on Palestine-Israel piece don’t understand him. This official said that President Obama opened his administration with an important investment in the peace process, making the appointment of former Senator George Mitchell one of his administration’s defining first moves.
The official said that the President receives regular updates on progress and has used two UN General Assembly speeches in a row to keep the Israel-Palestine standoff front and center. The official said Obama realizes — and has been advised — that without continuing involvement, without continuing innovation in approaches that this situation will blow up and not allow itself to be ignored.
My question then was, what next?
And the response was incomplete but probably sound. “We are studying options.”
In Time, Tony Karon shares a great state of play piece and suggests in a key clip:
The great hope of the Palestinians and their Arab backers will be that the stalemate prompts the Obama Administration to put its own ideas on the table on the parameters of a two-state solution, committing Washington to a map far closer to the international consensus than Israel is willing to go voluntarily. But a President who’ll face the battle of his life to win reelection two years from now will be reluctant to take the domestic political consequences of squeezing Israel.
This is the 900 kilo question. Will the administration finally do what it has long flirted with — putting its own parameters and ideas on the table as so many wise-person’s groups have suggested? Or will it forfeit this territory of diplomatic effort to Netanyahu?
That’s the burning question now — and my sources say that the door is open for new frames that could capture the day and change the current paralyzed standoff.
– Steve Clemons