The 'peace process' is secondary for this visit
President Obama will pay lip service to the 'peace process' during his upcoming trip to Israel, but Jonathan Tobin correctly points out that's not what this trip is about
But the idea that the president would parachute into the Middle East
and attempt to jump-start a peace process that has been stalled for
years by himself without any indication that genuine progress is even a
remote possibility gives Obama less credit than he deserves. The
president may intensely dislike Netanyahu, but he has no desire to
preside over a fiasco or to be seen as a failure so early in his second
Lip service will no doubt be paid to the peace process and grand
words will be uttered about the need to end the conflict during the
course of the visit. There will even be some who will give the president
credit for pushing Netanyahu to call for a new round of talks even
though the prime minister has been regularly issuing that appeal for
years to no effect. But after more than four years in office, even the
Obama administration has caught on to the fact that Abbas is more afraid
of a return to the negotiating table than he is of his Hamas rivals.
The chances that the Palestinian Authority will sign any document that
recognizes the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders
are drawn, or end the conflict for all time, are virtually nonexistent.
President Obama may hope to push Netanyahu to make more gestures to
the Palestinians, but there are other and, frankly, more important
things for them to discuss than the sensibilities of the corrupt gang
that presides over the PA in Ramallah.
Both the U.S. and the Israeli governments are closely monitoring the
chaos in Syria as well as the situation in Egypt where the installation
of a Muslim Brotherhood government has complicated the strategic
equation in the region. And looming over everything is the desire of the
United States that Israel not act on its own to forestall the nuclear
threat from Iran. No matter how much of the atmospherics of the trip
center on the peace process, it is those topics that are really at the
top of the agenda.
To assert that the topic of talks with the Palestinians is not the
most important subject of discussion between the two countries is not to
argue that Obama and Netanyahu will agree on most things. They don’t
like each other and don’t share the same frame of reference about the
imperative to convey the message to the Arab and Muslim world that there
is no daylight between their governments’ positions on major issues.
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Labels: Barack Hussein Obama, Binyamin Netanyahu, Egypt, Iranian nuclear threat, Middle East peace process, Muslim Brotherhood, Syria