Chester Crocker, Scott Lasensky and Samuel W. Lewis propose that the US lays out its own set of principles for solving the Israeli-Arab conflict.
At a minimum, the American declaration should be based on the 1967 lines, with agreed territorial swaps; support a compromise on Jerusalem that allows for two capitals for two states; include provisions about security limitations and guarantees; reiterate America’s support for an agreed solution to the refugee problem; and reaffirm our long-standing commitment to the state of Israel. But American principles should also include some caveats, given that our ultimate interest is in an agreed, viable solution — not in any particular formula.
What would it take for American ideas to succeed? Unlike some past efforts, Washington should not try to “pre-cook” this declaration with one or more parties or to choreograph their reactions. In fact, the U.S. statement of principles would be explicitly described as what our own country believes in and can support; and by implication what it cannot support.
Thus the U.S. statement would not be designed to achieve immediate approval or adoption by the parties. Its purpose would be to clarify where America stands, how we define our interests and what we can work for. It would aim at influencing the climate of thinking in the region, sobering up those with illusions and encouraging those who need our support.
The authors here presuppose that the United States would be willing to display a level of autonomy from Israel that it has been incapable of demonstrating for many years. If such an initiative was taken, it would not only be momentous as an intervention but also because it could only be done by an administration that had truly unshackled itself from the Israel lobby.