In reality, the talks President Obama launched last September stalled well before Al Jazeera’s bombshell, but the Obama administration has continued to insist it is pursuing the talks, though for the time being in an indirect format. “The U.S. remains focused on a two-state solution and will continue to work with the parties to narrow differences on core issues,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said in a statement Sunday.
“That [State Department] statement would not have passed the laugh test even before these documents came out, so it certainly can’t be taken seriously now,” says Daniel Levy, director of the Middle East task force at the New America Foundation in Washington. These revelations underscore the impossibility that the present approach will achieve a two-state solution, he says. “This is a failed policy.”
In the weeks since Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton confirmed in a Washington speech that the US would revert to speaking bilaterally to the parties to try to reduce the differences between them, many outside experts have suggested the US needs to act more forcefully to get the peace process moving again.
Some regional experts have suggested that President Obama should lay out the “framework” for a two-state solution as the US sees it. David Makovsky, a peace-process expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, has shared with administration officials and others from the region a map he has created, showing potential land swaps between Israel and the Palestinians. His map draws two-state borders that would not leave most of Israel’s largest settlements marooned in a future Palestine, while also avoiding a “Swiss cheese” Palestinian state.