by David Bedein
fficials in Jerusalem rejected the possibility that the Obama administration might present an American peace plan and try to impose it on the parties, The Washington Post reported. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last night that he would oppose any attempt to impose a solution on Israel. “It won’t work,” Mr. Netanyahu said to his aides. “Thus far, the administration’s approach has been that he assists, and doesn’t impose, and that indeed is the correct approach.” The Washington Post quoted senior U.S. administration officials who said that President Obama was seriously considering announcing in the autumn a new American peace plan for the Middle East that would be based on the Clinton plan with certain changes. “Everyone knows the basic outlines of a peace deal,” one senior official was quoted as saying, while a second official said that “90 percent of the map would look the same.” “The salient characteristic of this past year has been the rise of radical Islam and its armament,” said Mr. Netanyahu yesterday in response to accusations as if his policies were responsible for the diplomatic deadlock in the region. Mr. Netanyahu refrained from casting blame either on Obama or on prominent European leaders, but that seemed to be his implied intention when he said: “The world has to decide whether it is fighting against the phenomenon of radical Islam or whether it is adapting to it. That has ramifications on the peace process.” Mr. Netanyahu made his statements at a press conference he held in Jerusalem to sum up the first year of his term in office. “This march by radical Islam hasn’t been stopped until now. There are some people who cast responsibility for that on Israel, but anyone who examines the matter in depth knows that that is not the case. The Palestinians, with the support of others, have refused to engage in the peace process.” Regarding construction in Jerusalem, Mr. Netanyahu said it was important to “keep perspective. This isn’t my policy but that of all Israeli governments.” He said that it wasn’t the policy that had changed but “the government in the United States has changed. I won’t say that there aren’t differences of opinion. There are some things that we agree about and some that we don’t.” The BBC has quoted a high-ranking U.S. official yesterday who said that if the issue of Israel construction in East Jerusalem should come before the U.N. Security Council for discussion, the U.S. would not cast a veto, but would consider abstaining in the vote. According to the British television network, a senior official in the Obama administration said this to the prime minister and foreign minister of Qatar during a meeting in Paris last week. In past decades the U.S. has regularly cast a veto on resolutions against Israel in the Security Council. However, such a resolution has not come before the council yet for discussion.
See this report in the Philadelphia Bulletin
See this report at Israel Behind the News