US to Privately Grade Mideast Peace Plan

Critics question secret oversight; official says it avoids public blame
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2007 4:02 PM CST

(Newser) – Washington will secretly score Israeli and Palestinian adherence to the "road map" peace plan and hash out results with each side, Reuters reports. US diplomats plan to report to the White House on Israeli settlement growth and Palestinian vows to curb militants, two keys to the peace deal—but critics question the value of such secret oversight.

"If it is done in secret, and if it stays secret, it gives people the opportunity to question our even-handedness," a former US official said. It also conceals which side is making an effort, a Palestinian negotiator complained. But a US diplomat explained that "both sides don't want to be publicly blamed for their shortcomings." Final grading on peace progress will come from Bush or Condoleezza Rice.