By Eli Clifton
In a new film—released both on DVD and Youtube–Jimmy Carter, James A. Baker, Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski make the case that it is time for the Obama administration to put forward a conflict-ending resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The senior statesmen make the case that a U.S. plan will not address all Israeli or Palestinian interests, but that if the U.S. exerts leadership and its allies support the plan, the majority of Israelis and Palestinians will see the opportunity for a genuine and long-lasting peace.
The Foundation for Middle East Peace supported the production of the film–New Hope for Peace: What America Must do to end the Israel-Palestine Conflict–and described its release as coming ”at a time when the Obama administration and Mitchell risk repeating another failed ‘peace process’ by pushing interim ‘confidence-building’ measures like a settlement freeze and goodwill gestures by Arab governments which are not making much progress.”
At a time when the Netanyahu government and its allies in the U.S. have urged the Obama administration to back off its push for an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement, this bipartisan intervention by four elder statesmen demonstrates that there is still a strong constituency within the foreign policy establishment for aggressive U.S. leadership in the peace process.
Carter, Baker, Scowcroft and Brzezinski argue that a U.S. led plan which supports Israel’s right to exist, engages Hamas and Palestinian leadership, and provides a clear road map based on “land for peace” would be pivotal in winning over the majority of Israelis and Palestinians as well as gaining the support of Arab regional partners and allies around the world.
Although perhaps overly simplistic—which is unavoidable in a twenty minute film—it give one pause to think about what would happen if the US proposed a comprehensive plan for a two-state-solution which the rest of the world could support. Would Israel or the Palestinians be able to resist such an offer?
This is the first I’ve heard of the film. Given the prominence of the four men involved, you’d think the mainstream media would give it more prominent play.
The scenario they lay out sounds promising, but I think it’s a nonstarter. I don’t think a majority of Israelis will in fact buy it. Even more important is the fact that the majority of Arabs — Palestinians and others — will never reconcile themselves to a Jewish state in Palestine. Even if they do at some point agree to something along these lines, it will be for tactical purposes only. The Arabs know that time and demographics are on their side. They will not agree to a permanent, Jewish-dominated state, even with a Palestinian state beside it.
A Palestine in which Arabs, Jews, and others live together peacefully is I believe possible, despite the sufferings inflicted on the Palestinians by Israel. The benefits for both sides are obvious. But a Jewish state in Palestine with a smaller Arab state next door? If it ever happens, it won’t last. The Arabs will ultimately push the Jewish state into the sea, as they did the Christian crusader states in the Middle Ages, or they will swamp it demographically and then demand (quite rightly) equal rights — which similarly means the end of a Jewish-dominated state.
I still haven’t hear of this film till now, so very telling.
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