By Geoffrey Paul
February 9, 2009
Do we now have the detailed outline of President Obama's plan for an Israel-Arab peace? Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, Obama's foreign policy and security advisor in the run up the election and regarded as eminence gris of American geo-strategic thinkers, spoke in November at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, in London. What he said then was strictly off the record. But now Chatham House itself has put on the record an edited version of his November address on “Foreign policy challenges for Obama.” The Israel-Palestinian peace process, he says, must be given priority. Since the parties to the conflict can never themselves reach a solution, they will need America, with the help of Europe, to spell out the fundamental requirements of “a genuine peace of reconciliation.”
In the edited version of the Brzezinski speech published by Chatham House in its journal International Affairs, these are: a demilitarised Palestinian state, perhaps with a Nato presence on its soil to enhance Israel's sense of security; a territorial settlement based on the 1967 lines with “equitable exchanges” allowing Israel to incorporate the more heavily inhabited settlements on the fringes of those lines; acceptance by both parties of the fact that Palestinian refugees cannot return to what is now Israel but should be provided with compensation and assistance to settle, preferably, in the independent Palestinian state; and the “genuine sharing of Jerusalem as the capital of two states, with some kind of joint arrangement for the old city and a Palestinian flag over the golden dome.”
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