Reconnaissance conducted by State Department experts in recent weeks has apparently persuaded Secretary of State George P. Shultz that the time has come to reinvolve himself personally in the search for a Middle East peace. And so later this month Shultz, who has avoided any direct Middle East role ever since the American debacle in Lebanon in 1983, will visit the region's major capitals. In his briefcase will be a dusted-off U.S. plan for Israeli-Palestinian accommodation. The outline of that plan, drawn from the never-implemented autonomy provisions of the 1979 Camp David agreement and from President Reagan's 1982 peace initiative, has already been leaked. Whether it can now be made a formal proposal for conciliation remains to be seen.
Much depends on what Shultz hears privately from his hosts, and here the omens seem less than encouraging. After months, indeed years, of urging active American reinvolvement in the peace process the principal regional players are now saying either that the U.S. approach falls short of what's wanted or that it goes too far. The former view is that of Egypt and Jordan--and of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which has rejected the U.S. proposal out of hand. The latter view comes from Israel's right-wingers, among them Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, who say that they will never give up any Israeli-occupied land on the West Bank as part of a peace settlement.