Apparently, US President Obama is not inclined to follow advice rendered by the oldest living US President, Jimmy Carter. At least, not today.
In last Monday's edition of the New York Times, Carter wrote an op-ed telling Obama that he "must take" a "simple but vital step" before leaving office on 20 January 2017. Namely, said Carter, Obama should "grant diplomatic recognition to the state of Palestine." According to Carter's roadmap, this would lead to a UN Security Council resolution that would, effectively in not in fact, create a Palestinian state by a United Nations fiat. The only thing Israel would be able to do is negotiate the finer details of certain settlements and border issues. Any tensions between Israel and the new Palestinian state would be policed and settled by a UN peacekeeping force.
Much as he might like the idea, Obama probably will not follow Carter's counsel.
Quoting unnamed US officials, "Barack Obama has nearly ruled out any major last-ditch effort to put pressure on Israel over stalled peace negotiations with the Palestinians."
According to AP who reported the story, Obama was inclined to do something of this sort before the unexpected happened: Donald J. Trump won the US Presidential election instead of Hilary R. Clinton. Had Clinton been elected, Obama would have had an ideological comrade to whom he could pass last-minute iniatives. Trump, however, and to say the least, is not an ideological comrade.
"Trump's election," writes AP, "dramatically changed the calculus."
Although the US has always affirmed that the only way forward for peace between Israel and the Palestinian Territories is by means of direct negotiation, Obama had given serious thought to changing that policy. "Early last year, Obama began flirting with the possibility that the US could alter [this] stance by supporting a [Palestinian] statehood bid at the UN."
With Trump's election to the Presidency, Obama is inclined to stop the flirtation. Because, according to AP sources, he has "nearly" ruled it out. Nearly.