Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Update: Obama's Confidence-Building Measures

Earlier today I posted a news stub where Obama hinted at several "confidence-building measures" that would be carried out by Middle Eastern leaders in the coming months to help nudge along stalled negotiations in the Holy Land. Israeli newspaper Haaretz has more details on what they are calling the "gestures plan."

The gestures in question seem to be modeled loosely on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative where Israel would abandon the areas occupied after the 1967 war - Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan Heights - in exchange for full recognition and normalization of relations with the entire Arab region. Haaretz has specified that the gestures Obama was referring to are a halt to settlement construction in the West Bank on the Israeli side and steps toward normalized relations (such as accepting meetings with senior Israeli officials and public support for the peace process) on the Arab side.

Referring to these gestures President Obama said, "At some point, steps have to be taken so that people can see progress on the ground. And that will be something that we will expect to take place in the coming months and we will help hopefully to drive a process where each side is willing to build confidence."

I am currently working on an analysis of the "gesture plan" and expect to have it posted soon.

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