Steven Simon, the new White House National Security Council senior director for the Middle East and North Africa, told representatives of the Jewish Community Friday during a conference call that the White House was looking to get both the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government to adopt Mr. Obama’s “principles as a basis for negotiation,” according to a recording of the call played for the Washington Times.
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The Obama administration will tap Simon, a former top National Security Council official in the Clinton administration, to head the NSC’s Middle East desk, according to Laura Rozen of The Envoy foreign policy blog on Yahoo.com. Simon would succeed Daniel Shapiro, who by default has become the top administration point man for pro-Israel groups and Israeli officials.
Simon, currently a Middle Eastern studies fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, co-wrote “Building a Palestinian State” in 2005 when he was a senior analyst at the Rand Corp., a policy institute close to the U.S. defense establishment.
The paper at the time was the most comprehensive outline for Palestinian statehood and foresaw substantive Israeli concessions in the West Bank, although it also preserved some major settlements, including Ma’aleh Adumim. via thejewishweek.com
Mr. Obama’s position is “the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.”
Mr. Simon, who served as the Clinton White House’s top counter-terrorism official, said the United States had about a month to head off the Palestinian plan to declare a state during the annual United Nations General Assembly meeting set for September. via washingtontimes.com
“We have a month to see if we can work something out with the Israelis and Palestinians as accepting these principles as a basis for negotiations,” he said. “If that happens we are somewhat confident that the Palestinians will drop what they intend to do in the U.N.” via washingtontimes.com
A third former senior U.S. official told the Envoy that Simon had been offered and accepted the NSC job, and noted that when Simon was at the Rand Corporation during the Bush administration, he had worked on a project on developing a Palestinian state. via Laura Rosen @ news.yahoo.com