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September 14, 2016 3:52 pm

Former State Department Official: Security Aid Deal Could Serve as ‘Trigger Mechanism’ for New Obama-Led Israeli-Palestinian Peace Initiative (INTERVIEW)

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

Aaron David Miller. Photo: Wilson Center.

Aaron David Miller. Photo: Wilson Center.

The signing of the new 10-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) on US security assistance to Israel might serve as a “trigger mechanism” for a new American-led Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative before President Barack Obama leaves the White House in January, a former State Department Middle East negotiator told The Algemeiner on Wednesday.

The new MOU, Aaron David Miller — a vice president at the Wilson Center think tank in Washington — said, “lays the predicate for the Obama administration that it is extremely attuned to Israel’s security needs and requirements.” This, Miller claimed, provides the administration “a certain measure of cover” if it goes ahead with a peace initiative.

Miller explained what he sees as possible scenarios.

“The most ambitious move would be a UN Security Council resolution that would effectively replace Resolution 242 and set the parameters of a settlement,” he said. “But I don’t see that happening, in large part because I don’t understand the point, and there are politics involved. If Hillary Clinton wins the election, I don’t think she wants to be shackled by what would essentially be seen, from the viewpoint of the Israeli government and Republicans in the US, as a declaration of war. She’s not Obama. I think that, as a Clinton, she would have a tendency not to want to put Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a corner.”

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What is far more likely, Miller predicted, is a “speech given by the president that would lay out in a detailed fashion America’s views on what constitutes the basis for a two-state solution, probably complete with a road map of steps the Israelis and Palestinians would be obligated to take to create an environment conducive for negotiations.”

In any case, Miller said, Obama “will likely do something” in the Israeli-Palestinian realm before his term in office is over.

“I can’t imagine that the president, let alone [Secretary of State] John Kerry, will be able to leave this one alone,” he said.

However, Miller cautioned, any US initiative would be “virtual, just words.”

“The chances I think of anything happening in the next six months, barring some epiphany on the part Netanyahu or [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas, are slim to none,” he said.

As reported by The Algemeiner, Netanyahu expressed concerns last month to a visiting bipartisan delegation of US foreign policy experts about a potential Obama peace initiative during the lame-duck period between the election on Nov. 8 and the inauguration of the next president on Jan. 20.

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