Sunday, February 06, 2011

Palestine Papers: How the PA tried to write an Obama "peace plan"

In May, 2009, the Palestinian Arab negotiating team tried a new tactic: They wrote their own "road map" together with the Arab League and tried to make Obama adopt it as if it was his idea.

SE: We are working hard on one thing: the Regional Road Map (RRM). I have shared it with Russia (Lavrov), Javier Solana, Spain (Moratinos), UK (Miliband), French, Germans. The Jordanians made comments; they want to identify their role in Jerusalem. Egypt wanted to change “Rafah” to “all crossings” and wants to change the term “terrorism.” We are still waiting on comments from Syria, we should get them by the 14th. They have said they will have stylistic, not substantive changes.The Saudis said the RRM is excellent but want to add Morocco. Solana also said it is excellent. This time we are involving the Chinese and Japanese. Mitchell heard about it and said he needs a copy before Obama receives it so I gave him a copy.

We are breaking the Arab behavior of going to America and telling him what we need. Instead we are telling Obama that we can help. We can help in Pakistan, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. And Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan all need to tell Obama how they can help him. I went to Kurdistan. If other countries think they can use Hamas as a card we will do the same with them. We are not running a charity. Iran is playing games; they are using Hamas as a card.

We are taking the RRM and telling Obama we consulted with everyone on earth, now it’s your plan not ours. Make it your own. We can tell all the Arab countries, we got this document from Obama, are you in, yes or no? Put your money where your mouth is. We are instituting a zero tolerance policy for bullshit.

There are 4 new elements in the Obama administration: 1) They are pushing for the two-state solution as an American national interest, 2) they are saying the two-state solution is the only solution 3) their strategy is not a Palestinian-Israeli track, but a comprehensive regional peace, a matrix of interests and responsibilities 4) they are urging Palestinian institution reform and Fatah reform.

Rami Dajani: Is there a risk that Obama will say the RRM is a great start but then start dissecting it, like it seems he is doing with the Arab Peace Initiative (API)?

SE: whether we like it or not, Obama will take the approach we don’t want of taking baby steps. But if we give the RRM to him, it might open up his thinking. We will tell him, if you take baby steps you must define an end game and a definitive end date, and demand a complete settlement freeze.

Azem Bichara: Will you present the RRM publicly?

SE: No, not publicly. It’s Obama’s plan, we worked on it for him for free.

Azem Bichara:There is lots of buildup to Netanyahu’s meeting with Obama, how can we help with that? Should we write an Op-ed before AM’s meeting outlining our ideas?

SE: Do one in my name. Prepare for me a good press conference after AM’s meeting. We need to issue a statement right after Netanyahu’s meeting.

Look at the comments from Jordan and Moratinos and tell me what you think, what we should incorporate. We don’t want Jordan involved in Jerusalem.

Also, change the title. Maybe something like “RRM for a Comprehensive Peace.” But get rid of API [Arab Peace Initiative] in title.
This was right before Obama's Cairo speech.