An Offer They Can’t Refuse?

In a new film—released both on DVD and Youtube–Jimmy Carter, James A. Baker, Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski make the case that it is time for the Obama administration to put forward a conflict-ending resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The senior statesmen make the case that a U.S. plan will not address all Israeli or Palestinian interests, but that if the U.S. exerts leadership and its allies support the plan, the majority of Israelis and Palestinians will see the opportunity for a genuine and long-lasting peace.

The Foundation for Middle East Peace supported the production of the film–New Hope for Peace: What America Must do to end the Israel-Palestine Conflict–and described its release as coming ”at a time when the Obama administration and Mitchell risk repeating another failed ‘peace process’ by pushing interim ‘confidence-building’ measures like a settlement freeze and goodwill gestures by Arab governments which are not making much progress.”

At a time when the Netanyahu government and its allies in the U.S. have urged the Obama administration to back off its push for an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement, this bipartisan intervention by four elder statesmen demonstrates that there is still a strong constituency within the foreign policy establishment for aggressive U.S. leadership in the peace process.

Carter, Baker, Scowcroft and Brzezinski argue that a U.S. led plan which supports Israel’s right to exist, engages Hamas and Palestinian leadership, and provides a clear road map based on “land for peace” would be pivotal in winning over the majority of Israelis and Palestinians as well as gaining the support of Arab regional partners and allies around the world.

Although perhaps overly simplistic—which is unavoidable in a twenty minute film—it give one pause to think about what would happen if the US proposed a comprehensive plan for a two-state-solution which the rest of the world could support. Would Israel or the Palestinians be able to resist such an offer?