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Friday, April 10, 2009

Netanyahu gets an endorsement from... Tony Blair

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu got an endorsement from a surprising source on Wednesday: Quartet Middle East envoy Tony Blair.
I think the fact that the new Prime Minister [Benjamin Netanyahu] is really clear that he wants economic and security change on the West Bank. That's what we agreed we'd work on with him. There are one or two things that [Netanyahu's] term "economic peace" can mean. One, that economic development is a substitute for state, and that's obviously not acceptable. I personally think he wants the second, to build the [Palestinian] state from the bottom up. I understand and buy into that. It's important for the Israeli government to come out and say we want a two-state solution, but the circumstances have got to be right.
Maybe it's not quite such an endorsement after all.

One of the implications of Netanyahu's building a 'Palestinian state' from the ground up is that it's going to take time. In fact, in Netanyahu's world, if the 'Palestinians' don't play along, there isn't going to be a 'Palestinian state.' Is Blair willing to live with that? Is President Obama? Is the rest of the quartet? Are the 'Palestinians' willing to accept anything other than instant gratification? Other than the first question on that list, I am willing to bet that the answer to all the other questions is "no," which is why the Obama administration is preparing for a confrontation with the Netanyahu government. If Blair really believes in Netanyahu's concept (and frankly, that concept is the only way most Israelis can be sold on the notion that a 'Palestinian state' will not seek to destroy us), he needs to be selling it to the quartet, and especially to Barack Hussein Obama.

Moreover, there is no reason that the government of Israel should come out and say that it 'wants' a two-state solution. The government of Israel has never entered into an international agreement that pre-determines the outcome of negotiations on this issue (in all of the Oslo agreements it's referred to as the 'final status' and the agreements never commit to a state). If the outcome were agreed upon in advance, there would be no point in negotiations, would there? Let's see the 'Palestinians' show that they're ready to run a state and then we can talk about them having one. So far, the only thing the 'Palestinians' have shown is that they want to destroy the Jewish state.


At 12:54 AM, Blogger R-MEW Editors said...

In 1996, I was living in London when Netanyahu met with a new, young, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed British PM cockily determined to forge a Palestinian state.

Netanyahu and Blair emerged from their meeting to give a press conference and I have never seen a more abject look of fear -- nay, panic -- on the face of Tony Blair.

Blair had met his intellectual and oratorical equal and Netanyahu had obviously set him straight on Israel's security needs following the Oslo fiasco.

Unfortunately, Bill Clinton subsequently decided a Nobel Prize was just the ticket needed to save him from Monica-gate and secure his legacy and Netanyahu went wobbly at Wye.

Over a decade later and we have nearly the same players in a very similar situation. Except that today, it is the Anointed One and his apostle Mrs. Bill who are on Blair's flank. We can only pray that once again, Netanyahu will wipe that smug smile off of Blair's face.

At 5:41 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

FinanceDoc, we can only hope Bibi will be able to stand up to Obama. The US is going to pressure the party that can be most moved by it and that is Israel. Bill Clinton at least claimed to be a friend to Israel and in the days of Oslo euphoria that was taken as an article of faith by many Israelis who believed America could ensure Israel's security. And for that Bibi paid the price. There is no such illusion about Obama and most Israelis understand America is not going to stand beside them this time no matter what they what they do. So Israelis may be more supportive of Bibi in the event there is a confrontation between the US and Israel this time around.


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