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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

WaPo calls on Obama to re-set relations with Israel

Following the Israeli elections, the Washington Post would like to see President Hussein Obama re-set relations with Israel.
Evidently, Mr. Netanyahu calculates that being seen to stand up to this U.S. president is good politics in Israel — and he may be right. A recent poll showed that half of Israelis believes the prime minister should pursue his policies even if they lead to conflict with the United States. The big story of the campaign has been the surge of far-right parties that reject not only Mr. Obama’s view of Israel but also the two-state solution that has been U.S. policy for more than a decade.
This disturbing trend is partly the result of Mr. Obama’s poor handling of Israel, which he has not visited and where he is widely regarded as supportive of the nation’s defense but unsympathetic to its psyche. If the White House were trying to undercut Mr. Netanyahu, it would be guilty of the same poor judgment the Israeli leader showed in tilting toward Mitt Romney in the U.S. presidential race. No scenario contemplated by political analysts foresees anyone other than Mr. Netanyahu emerging as prime minister from the bargaining that will follow Tuesday’s election.
The question is whether the incumbent will choose, or perhaps be obliged by the electoral math, to include parties from the center and left in his coalition. If he does not, Mr. Netanyahu could find himself isolated both within his own government and internationally: He is one of only two of the top 30 candidates from his own Likud Party to endorse Palestinian statehood.
For that reason, the wise U.S. policy would be to concede, and maybe even welcome, Mr. Netanyahu’s reelection while quietly urging him to construct a centrist government. In the coming months Israel and the United States will likely have an urgent need to communicate clearly and cooperate closely on the threat of Iran’s nuclear program; and they must try to preserve the prospect of Palestinian statehood. Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu may be political foils, but as each begins a new term their deeper interest lies in a reset of their relationship.
I don't believe there's any hope of Obama re-setting his relations with Israel. He might be able to re-set his relations with Netanyahu personally, but as even the editorial notes, everyone to the right of Netanyahu, including most of the Likud, cannot stand Obama. Is Netanyahu really going to go to bat for Obama's policies when most of his own can't stand them? Not if he wants another term as party leader. 

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