Report: Israel braces for damaging Obama UN initiative

Although US Middle East expert Dennis Ross recently said he doubts President Obama will push for a UN resolution that may pave the way for a Palestinian state and would place unnecessary pressure on Israel before he leaves the White House, Israelis are skeptical and are preparing for the possibility nonetheless. 

Israeli diplomats, the prime minister’s office and foreign ministry officials are reportedly preparing for the possibility that President Barack Obama will launch a last-ditch diplomatic initiative during the interim period between the elections in November and the swearing-in of the elected president in January.

Israel Radio in a Wednesday report quoted an Israeli source that said that the initiative includes a proposal submitted to the UN Security Council (UNSC) on the two-state solution, based on the pre-1967 lines, which could later serve as an opening position for future negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

This would severely hinder Israel’s maneuvering abilities during any upcoming negotiations.

Israel Radio’s report also quoted an “Israeli source familiar with the matter” who called the pending initiative “a problematic issue.”

The source assessed that the Palestinians would also have difficulty accepting Washington’s proposal if it includes a demand for their recognition of the State of Israel, a step they have yet to take after over two decades of negotiations.

The report says that the Israelis have recently held several discussions on such a scenario and considered several possible responses to such an initiative, including a proposal to annex the Gush Etzion bloc, an area just south of Jerusalem.

Simultaneously, Israel is still facing the French diplomatic initiative, which  entails indirect negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, at least in the beginning, with international arbitration and an international resolution to pressure Israel into concessions that could hinder its security.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News