Kissinger draws up Middle East peace plan
Washington: The fate of moderate regimes in the Middle East will be decided by the outcome of the US efforts in Iraq, Dr Henry Kissinger warned on Friday in an article published by the Washington Post.
The former US official, who now runs a consultancy service, wrote that if America falters, few Arab leaders would increase their peril by supporting the adjustments in the Palestinian position that a settlement requires. If next month’s elections in Iraq led to enhanced legitimacy and security improved, Arab support for a Palestine initiative might well be forthcoming, he added. He said Iraq and Palestine problems were two sides of the same coin. All parties, he added, would have to come to grips with major decisions in order to achieve a settlement.
Kissinger wrote, “Israel must recognise that demographic and technological trends make procrastination increasingly precarious. Palestinian leaders must understand that if they reject compromise, they doom their people to another generation of suffering and frustration. European leaders need to understand that they contribute most effectively to peace by counteracting the illusion that America is the deus ex machina of negotiations that delivers the maximum Arab programme without any sacrifice on the Palestinians’ part. They should foster the recognition that both sides need to make major concessions.”
According to him, the step-by-step process is no longer useful as there are not enough peripheral issues left that might satisfy the parties even partially. So far, roadmaps have been negotiated only if they are phrased in language so general and ambiguous as to permit each party to interpret it in the manner most closely approximating its original position. This time a more precise and specific roadmap needs to be drawn up to guide the peace process. The existing Quartet, key Europeans allies and Russia should define the principles and outlines of a possible settlement, seek the support of regional powers and take a leadership role in its implementation.
Kissinger wrote, “The recent changes in Israel, Palestine and the United States permit some specificity with respect to territory and to Palestinian aspirations. The territorial dividing line should be defined by a security fence paralleling the 1967 borders along principles discussed at Camp David and Taba. This would return all of the West Bank to Palestinian rule except the five to eight percent needed for the strategic defence of Israel. In compensation, Israel would transfer some of its territory elsewhere to the Palestinian state. It would be best to transfer territory with significant Arab populations from the northern part of Israel to improve the demographic balance … The Palestinian contribution to peace must be a genuine recognition of Israel, transparent institutions and a dismantling of the terrorist apparatus on Palestinian territory or aimed at Israel from other neighbouring states ... No plan that preserves Israel will pacify radical Arabs or those Palestinians who view negotiations as an interim step on the road to the eradication of Israel. A new plan will not gain the gratitude of the parties, since they would have to make major sacrifices. Aspects of it will be bitterly resisted in Israel, however much implied in current Israeli policy. It will not solve our dilemmas in Iraq and end hostility to America in the Middle East. But strong US leadership could give moderate leaders in the region the incentive and justification to overcome a policy that dooms the Middle East to another generation of struggle and death ... It could provide a vision of the Middle East compatible with the dignity of all parties and our own conscience.” khalid hasan