Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Netanyahu Approaches

Benjamin Netanyahu is due here in DC shortly to address Congress and talk with President Obama. While some see the U.S. as hamstrung on the Israeli-Palestinian process and distracted by the Arab Spring, I see Israel itself as in its weakest position in years, and thus badly in need of a friend:
  • Relations with Turkey, Israel's counterweight to Syria, have been cooling for years.
  • Amidst its instability, Syria has rattled Israeli nerves by letting its Palestinians be Palestinian: ticked off and marching toward Palestine.
  • Fatah and Hamas have somehow forged a unity government.
  • Egypt's new government could really care less about keeping Gaza sealed off.
  • The EU is distracted and the Obama administration cool since Israel's refusal to stop West Bank settlements.
The U.S. has some large fish to fry and shouldn't have to care much about non-existential threats to Israel; but Israel has to care very much about everything, and might be in the mood to deal. While Netanyahu will undoubtedly talk tough and receive his usual adoration in Congress, now might be a very good time for U.S. negotiators to bring up those West Bank settlements again.


Paul D. Kretkowski said...

And Thomas Friedman winds up more or less agreeing, although he tries tying it to his quixotic quest for an integrated energy policy: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/18/opinion/18friedman.html

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