Thursday, June 24, 2010

J. Weiner, A. Sharon & M. Morrison, Peacekeepers: Will They Advance Any Prospective Arab-Israeli Peace Agreement?

I . I n t r o d u c t i o n

The establishment of a peacekeeping force is widely accepted to be an essential part of any future Israeli-Palestinian peace. The final-status settlement proposed by the Clinton administration specified “security arrangements that would be built around an international presence.” In discussing the issue of security, American diplomat Dennis Ross, who was one of the American negotiators of the 1995 Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and the 1997 Protocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron, and who served as President Clinton’s Middle East coordinator, has written: “The key lies in an international presence that can only be withdrawn by the agreement of both sides.”

Among the most prominent nongovernmental initiatives recommending the inclusion of peacekeeping forces are the “Geneva Accord” and the Bipartisan Statement on U.S. Middle East Peacemaking, entitled “A Last Chance for a Two-State Israel-Palestine Agreement,” drafted and signed by ten former senior U.S. government officials and presented to the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama (the “Bipartisan Statement”).

Although the need for a peacekeeping force appears to enjoy broad support, it should be noted that the “Road Map”5 proposed by the United States, the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations (together “the Quartet”) in 2003 does not suggest the inclusion of peacekeeping forces, although it does envisage a monitoring mechanism for its interim phases. Similarly, the 2002 “Arab Peace Initiative” does not include any mention of peacekeeping forces. Tellingly, however, former U.S. National Security Advisers Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski, both of whom were among the authors of the Bipartisan Statement, have pointed out the need for supplementing the initiative with a multinational peacekeeping force.
It is against this background that the authors set out to examine, from an Israeli perspective, the feasibility of establishing a form of multinational peacekeeping force as part of a future Israeli-Palestinian peace accord.

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