London-based A-Sharq al-Awsat reports that U.S. President Barack Obama presented his version of peace in the Middle East to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during the latter’s visit to Washington last month, as well as to two Eygptian officials. The plan reportedly calls for a process that will finalize a Palestinian state within two years.
The Arabic newspaper quotes an unnamed source as saying Obama wants Netanyahu to respond to his plan within six weeks from Obama's famous address in Cairo last week.
A-Sharq al-Awsat reported that the Egyptian officials - Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit and intelligence chief Omar Suleiman – received the impression that Obama was "serious" in his bid to implement the plan. However, Arab sources told the paper that Arabs see the Hamas-Fatah discord as main obstacle in promoting the plan.
Prof. Ephraim Inbar, of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA), has come to a similar conclusion. In a paper he issued earlier this year, Inbar wrote that as a result of Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and the subsequent Hamas takeover of the area, “Israel is stuck with two rival Palestinian entities along its borders – two entities that are not even close to any kind of unity that will enable it to become a responsible partner with Israel. Thus, as of now, the two-state option simply no longer exists.”