Saturday, April 18, 2009

Obama and Netanyahu: where is this heading?

The grace period is over. Israel has formed its largely right wing government and the US is starting to communicate its message to Israel vis a vis any 'peace process' between Israelis and Palestinians.

The US position under Obama is well known: a two state solution, based on previous agreements, including no doubt the secret negotiations between Olmert and Abbas that were occurring prior to his departure. The end result is more or less the Clinton parameters of December 2000 with give or take on territory and other issues.

The Netanyahu govt it appears will have none of that. They can't conceive of a two state solution, let alone a viable Palestinian state.

The recipe for a souring in the relationship between Israel and the US is well on the way. Obama is no Bush - he will not be intimidated or postpone talks on the basis of requests from the Israeli govt or its lobby. Nor are there any neoconservatives in the US administration to prevent the US from taking a more engaged approach in the region (in particular I think of Scooter Libby, Elliot Abrams (have you read his stupid op-ed in the Washington Post?) and David Wursmer). The US has a far more focused and coordinated foreign policy team.

The question of course is what action is the US going to go - that is to what extent is the US going to show its disapproval of Israeli behaviour. Stephen Walt on his blog has suggested a number of policy options that the US may consider.

Will these measures effect the Israeli government's attitude? Who knows. What it may do is finally awaken Israelis out of their slumber that they can simply live within their fence/wall, forget about the Palestinians and do nothing - that the US will no longer tolerate such an approach. Perhaps when Israelis see that the US is 'pissed off' due to its government's behaviour, the public discourse may shift in a more left wing direction (nine years too late!).

Of course the opposite may occur. The Israeli public may become convinced that Obama was and has always been 'anti-Israel' whatever that stupid term means and its fate is simply to be a 'nation that dwells alone' with the 'world against it'. Somehow, I don't think that will happen - despite the paranoia that exists within Israeli society, they are not that stupid.

In any event, its likely to be an interesting few months ahead in Israeli/US relations.


Blogger Ibrahimblogs said...

Yeah lets keep a close watch. Its going to get interesting now.

Keep writing!!

This is Ibrahim from Israeli Uncensored News

11:29 PM  

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