'Obama drafting potential new peace proposal'

White House officials working furiously on new negotiation plan, 'New York Times' reports; Clinton calls for immediate resumption of talks.

April 21, 2011 17:35
2 minute read.
US President Obama and Hillary Clinton

US President Obama and Hillary Clinton 311 (R). (photo credit: Reuters/Jeff Haynes)


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US President Barack Obama's advisers are working to draft a fresh potential Israeli-Palestinian peace proposal, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

The conceivable proposal will address the four major sticking points which have repeatedly foiled negotiations in the past three decades, the Times said. Those include the right of the return for Palestinian refugees, a desire which Obama will likely declare untenable, as well as the bifurcation of Jerusalem. Obama's plan was tipped to call for the division of Jerusalem, with the city serving as the capital of both states.

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The Times report coincided with an interview US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave PBS, during which she called for the immediate resumption of peace talks.

In the interview, Clinton also denounced Palestinian efforts seeking unilateral declarations of statehood in the United Nations.

Clinton said that despite the unrest currently taking place in the Middle East, Israel and the Palestinians should realize the immediateness of the need to resume negotiations.

As both sides are attempting to analyze what regional change "means for their future positions," Clinton said, "I would hope - and [US President Barack] Obama has said that he will continue to press both sides, which is what we believe we have to do - that everyone would realize that negotiations are the only way."

But more than negotiations being "the only way," the US secretary of state added, "they are an immediate need."

She emphasized that even in the midst of everything going on the region, "it is in the best interest of both the Israelis and Palestinians" to get back to the "hard work" of peace negotiations.

Despite the "immediate need" to get back to peace talks, Clinton made clear that the United States remains opposed to the unilateral creation of a Palestinian state in the United Nations.

"We do not support any unilateral effort by the Palestinians to go to the United Nations to try to obtain some authorization or approval vote with respect to statehood," she said, adding, "We think we can only achieve the two state solution that we strongly advocate through negotiations."

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