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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bibi and Barack

Over at Commentary, Shmuel Rosner has some interesting comments about the possibility of Israel electing Binyamin Netanyahu Prime Minister in February (which seems increasingly likely) and how Netanyahu might get along with the incoming Obama administration:
Here are a couple of reasons why Netanyahu and Obama should be able to work it out:

1. Obama will not want to be seen as someone looking for a fight with the Israeli government. It would give a lot of people an opportunity to say “we told you so.”

2. Netanyahu learned a lesson in 1999, when the Clinton administration helped bring about the end of his government. He will try to avoid similar mistakes.

3. Clinton of 2008 is not the Clinton of 2000. The collapse of Camp David and the second Intifada have taught her (and most other people) that one can’t force a peace by fiat.

4. Rhetoric aside, the differences between Netanyahu, Livni, and Barak are not hugely significant. Netanyahu himself won’t be nearly as important as the coalition he forms. And a centrist coalition headed by Netanyahu can do just fine.

Having said all that, bad feelings and old animosities could still hurt Netanyahu, both in the administration and even more so in Congress (Netanyahu was very close with Newt Gingrich, something Congressional Democrats are unlikely to forget). There are also many Jewish leaders who don’t like the idea of Netanyahu as Prime Minister.

The bottom line? I don’t think the possibility of a Netanyahu-Obama clash will hurt the Likud Party at the polls, because most Israelis attuned to such nuances are already in the anti-Bibi camp. This means that Netanyahu–if he manages to win, as polls predict–will have one challenge to overcome rather quickly. But then, so will the Obama administration.

I agree with his bottom line, although the Israeli media are doing their best to make it look like electing Netanyahu would be a disaster with Obama in office. On the other hand, with Benny Begin and Boogie Yaalon on board, there is much less of a chance of Netanyahu suddenly making the types of concessions that he made to Clinton at Wye. And Rosner is hopefully correct that people like Hillary Clinton have learned their lesson from Camp David and its aftermath.

Read the whole thing.


At 3:28 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel and the U.S will be electing governments of polar opposites. The "peace process" has been dead for a good long while. There's no chance of three things happening over the next four years: a Palestinian state, redivision of Jerusalem and a deal with Syria that brings Israel down from the Golan Heights. The Arabs are not interested in a deal with Israel short of one that facilitates the Jewish State's demise in the future. That's the long and short of a second Bibi term.


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