AIPAC Weighs Obama's Mideast Plan

Originally published on June 1, 2011 11:26 am
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LIANE HANSEN, Host:

Earlier today, we spoke with Martin Indyk. He's the vice president and director of foreign policy at Brookings, and he previously served as U.S. ambassador to Israel. He sais President Obama hasn't really indicated what his administration's role will be in advancing the peace process.

MARTIN INDYK: Abu Mazen has joined with Hamas. Hamas is committed to a one state solution; that is replacing Israel, not living alongside Israel. And on the Israeli side, he sees a prime minister who is deeply constrained by his right-wing coalition.

HANSEN: Given the public uprising we've seen in the Arab world, is now the moment for deal-making between Israelis and Palestinians?

INDYK: I think that there's a lot of turmoil clearly around Israel's borders, which makes Israel loathe to take risks for peace. There's a lot of preoccupation, understandable preoccupation, by Arab leaders with their own streets. And that is going to make it difficult. But, come September, there's going to be an election in Egypt. And political leaders in Egypt are going to play the demagogue; they're going to play to the crowd. The crowd is antagonistic towards Israel because of the failure to resolve the Palestinian problem.

UN S: The Palestinians taking their lessons from their brothers, start to demonstrate peacefully in larger and larger numbers. We saw them coming across the border last week. And then the Egyptian parliament comes in and adopts an anti-Israel stance. And then the president of the United States vetoes the UN Security Council resolution. The whole thing could become very explosive.

HANSEN: Martin Indyk is the vice president and director of Foreign Policy at Brookings. Thank so much for coming in.

INDYK: Thanks, Liane. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.