The sources said Obama plans to discuss portions of the new strategy
with Arab and Israeli leaders in May 2009. By July, the White House intends
to release the plan.
"The president will tell Arab and Israeli leaders their role in the plan
and will urge their cooperation," the source said. "The hard work will begin
in the implementation."
The sources said the Obama plan also envisioned U.S. and international
assistance to the Gaza Strip, controlled by the Hamas regime.
On May 18, Obama was scheduled to meet visiting Israeli Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu. Over the following week, Egyptian President Hosni
Mubarak and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas were scheduled to
meet the president.
"I don't expect that the meeting [with Netanyahu] will be quite as
contentious as you might suggest," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs
The U.S. strategy has been coordinated with the European Union, Russia
and the United Nations, which form the so-called Quartet of mediators for a
Palestinian state. The sources said EU leaders have pledged to cooperate in
pressing Israel and the PA to cooperate.
On May 16, a senior White House official said Obama would focus on a
Palestinian state in his meeting with Netanyahu. The official said the
president would demand that Israel immediately stop all construction in
Jewish communities in the West Bank.
"The Israelis have obligations related to settlements and outposts," the
official said. "It will certainly be a topic for them to discuss."
The White House has already briefed Arab leaders on the new U.S.
strategy. Officials cited Mubarak, Jordan's King Abdullah, Saudi King
Abdullah and Abbas.
Officials said the U.S. strategy would be announced after Obama's
address to the Muslim world on June 4. The president was scheduled to visit
Egypt to issue his message after a meeting with Mubarak in both Cairo and
"This is a framework that is being worked on at the highest level in the
American administration, in the rest of the international community,"
Quartet chairman Tony Blair, a former British prime minister, said on May 5.
"I think that within the next five to six weeks, you will have a very clear
picture of what the plan is."
Administration sources confirmed Blair's assertion. They said Obama has
sent envoys to such countries as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria to
consider a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace plan.
"I think this is the beginning of a long effort and I think the
President — I think all involved understand that, like so many issues that
arrive in that office, that the solutions aren't going to be easy," Gibbs