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White House Considering US Mideast Peace Plan

April 22, 2011
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The plan could also include calls for acceptable security for Israel and rule out Palestinian “refugees” from returning en masse to Israel in the so-called “right of return”.   

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently promised a Middle East policy speech from Obama, but it remains unclear what exactly Obama would say in the speech. The New York Times said that the White House has debated whether or not Obama should present his own peace plan in such a speech.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears poised for his own speech on the Middle East in the US next month to a joint session of Congress [the US legislature]. Rep. John Boehner, the House Speaker, said in a press release on the Speaker’s Web site that he intends to invite Netanyahu to speak.

The press release noted that a formal invitation would be extended to Netanyahu after Congress approves a resolution allowing for the joint session [the US House and Senate]. While a specific date was not given, it is generally expected the speech would occur around the same time as the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference, which begins May 22 in Washington.

Said Rep. Boehner in the press release, “It will be a great honor for Congress to welcome Prime Minister Netanyahu next month as part of his official visit to the United States. America and Israel are the closest of friends and allies, and we look forward to hearing the Prime Minister’s views on how we can continue working together for peace, freedom, and stability.”

Like Obama, Netanyahu isn’t giving a lot of details about his Mideast speech, although The Jerusalem Post did report that Netanyahu recently told activists from his Likud political party the US speech would address Iran, the Israel–Palestinian diplomatic process, and US–Israel relations.

The New York Times pointed out both Obama and Netanyahu’s diplomatic speech discussions are taking place against the backdrop of a possible Palestinian attempt to get statehood recognition from the United Nations in September.  

While such recognition appears likely at the UN General Assembly, decisions by the international body are merely advisory, not mandated. The only UN body that can legally mandate the creation of a Palestinian state is the Security Council, where the US has a veto. The US has repeatedly expressed a sentiment of opposition to Palestinian interest in seeking UN statehood recognition and Secretary of State Clinton reiterated that on Wednesday [April 20].  

According to a transcript of her comments released by the US State Department, Clinton said on PBS’ “Conversations on Diplomacy” with Charlie Rose that the US administration is “on record as having said that we do not support any unilateral effort by the Palestinians to go to the United Nations to try to obtain some authorization, approval, vote, with respect to statehood.”

She said the reason for that opposition is “because we think you can only achieve the two-state solution, which we strongly advocate, through negotiation. And we have been urging both the Israelis and the Palestinians to get on with the business of actually negotiating.” To that end, Clinton said that Obama has said he will “continue to press both sides” to negotiate.

Posted on April 22, 2011

Source: (By Joshua Spurlock, BFP Israel Mosaic Radio, April 21, 2011)

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