Netanyahu Goes AWOL as White House Hatches Secret New Mid East Peace Plan

Discovery of a secret plan hatched in the White House for reviving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process before President Barack Obama leaves office prompted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to cancel his date with the president later this month.
The embarrassment caused by the plan’s untimely leak to The Wall Street Journal on March 8 led to the White House spokesman’s sarcastic reference to Netanyahu’s discourtesy in informing the media he was cancelling his March 18 appointment with the president, before notifying Washington.
The White House staff had been caught off guard by the premature media disclosure and was at sixes and sevens.
DEBKA Weekly’s Washington sources report that no more than five or six administration insiders were privy to the still nascent Middle East peace plan: Vice President Joe Biden, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power and Rob Malley, director of the Middle East and Africa desk at the National Security Council.
Nobody at the State Department or the Pentagon had known about it.
Rice promoted the initiative to punish Netanyahu for eight years of contrarian opposition to Obama’s policies – especially with regard to Iran and the Palestinian issue.
Power hoped for progress on the issue to buttress the president’s legacy.
Somehow, the secret plan to reignite Middle East diplomacy had reached Netanyahu’s ears. He reacted by leaking it to the media. His purpose was to try and nip the idea in the bud before it matured into a full-fledged plan.
To make sure it never developed far enough to gain presidential approval, he decided to avoid meeting Obama.
The five points taking shape thus far are revealed here by DEBKA Weekly.
1. The US will initiate a UN Security Council resolution setting forth the steps leading up to an Israeli-Palestinian accord.
2. The US will draw up a blueprint for future Palestinian-Israeli talks to help make sure they bear fruit.
3. Washington will press Israel hard to halt construction in “Palestinian territories” and recognize East Jerusalem as the future capital of a Palestinian state.
4. The US will pressure the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and rescind the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees.
5. Obama will make a speech outlining the steps ahead, along with a joint statement by the Middle East Quartet (the US, Russia, the UN and the EU).
Netanyahu took this outline as a recipe for an imposed solution on Israel – that is, if the Security Council resolution was general rather than nonbinding; the administration included a clause fixing a date for implementation; or put in place a UN mechanism for implementing the Security Council resolution.
The prime minister took one look at the outline concocted by White House staffers and decided not to risk a trip to Washington or a meeting with Barack Obama.

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