America is putting the final touches to a hugely ambitious peace plan for the Middle East, aimed at ending more than 60 years of conflict between Israel and the Arabs, according to Jordan’s King Abdullah, who is helping to bring the parties together.
The Obama Administration is pushing for a comprehensive peace agreement that would include settling Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians and its territorial disputes with Syria and Lebanon, King Abdullah II told The Times. Failure to reach agreement at this critical juncture would draw the world into a new Middle East war next year. “If we delay our peace negotiations, then there is going to be another conflict between Arabs or Muslims and Israel in the next 12-18 months,” the King said.
Details of the plan are likely to be thrashed out in a series of diplomatic moves this month. Chief among them is President Obama’s meeting with Binyamin Netanyahu, the right-wing Israeli Prime Minister, in Washington a week today. The initiative could form the centrepiece for Mr Obama’s much-anticipated address to the Muslim world in Cairo on June 4. A peace conference could then take place involving all the parties as early as July or August. Such an ambitious project has not been attempted since 1991, when George Bush senior’s Administration assembled all the parties for a peace conference in Madrid.