President Obama’s Guarantee

by Ivy Scarborough | May 20th, 2011

President Obama has guaranteed that there will be no possibility in the foreseeable future of a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians.  His statement of the new U.S. “policy” that the boundaries of any new Israeli and Palestinian states must follow the pre 1967 lines has at least three effects:

  1. The Israelis will never consent to those boundaries; thus one party to the conflict is already effectively “out” of the negotiations even if there is some pro forma participation.
  2. It ensures that the Palestinians from now on will regard the 1967 boundaries as a firm and certain minimal outcome in any settlement with the Israelis; thus an intractable series of rigid positions and rejections will result.
  3. As a mediator, the most basic mediation principles dictate that you never state openly – certainly not to the parties – what you believe the outcome of negotiations should be since this has the effect of hardening rather than mitigating attitudes between the conflicting parties. It will also suggest bias to one party or the other thereby undermining your credibility as evenhanded. Thus, the President’s pronouncement was an act of incompetence.

The world should now brace itself for many more years of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  The President has laid the groundwork that will make more death and violence a certainty.

About Ivy Scarborough

Ivy Scarborough is a writer, commentator, former adjunct professor, television, radio and print commentator, radio program host, professional mediator, and lawyer.

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