Thursday, February 7, 2013

"The time has come to settle the debt. And in cash, if possible!"

"...So why now?It is hard to believe that White House officials and Washington’s State Department are unaware of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political schedule and the tremendous challenges that await him. We can assume that the decision about the timing of the visit, as well as the decision to break the news in the midst of the coalition negotiations, were not made offhandedly. Out of my longstanding familiarity with American procedures, decisions such as these are usually made only after much consideration, discussion and planning. In my mind’s eye I see the president’s advisors browsing daily updates from the embassy in Tel Aviv, including selections from the Israeli press on the coalition negotiations. They, too, have probably discovered that a magnifying glass is needed to find the words “diplomatic process,” “peace negotiations,” “permanent agreement,” “security arrangements,” “evacuation of settlements” and any other expression related to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. On the other hand, they are finding a profusion of expressions along the lines of “equality in sharing the burden,” “middle class” and “social justice." It is indeed hard to believe that the timing of the announcement of the presidential visit is disconnected from the coalition negotiations. This is a clear message from Obama to Netanyahu: “Hey there, wait a minute. I’m here too.” For the first two years of Netanyahu’s term of office, he enjoyed the effect of his Bar llan speech. In his last two years, he benefited from the fact that Obama neglected the Israeli-Palestinian political process for the sake of his re-election campaign for his second term of office.Now, says Obama to Netanyahu, the time has come to settle the debt. And in cash, if possible. “The two-state solution,” the slogan declaimed by the prime minister all the way to his third term of office, now sits at his front door..."

No comments: