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Sunday, July 04, 2010

Bibi should play for time in Washington

Caroline Glick argues that Prime Minister Netanyahu must play for time in Washington and hope that November's midterm elections bring about a real change.
Netanyahu's desire to avoid a confrontation with the Obama administration is understandable. Given the nature of the Israeli media, Netanyahu would certainly pay a political price if he were to be blamed for making the administration turn against Israel. But the truth is that today more than ever, Obama shares Netanyahu's desire to avoid an open clash.

The midterm Congressional elections are just four months away and Obama's Democratic colleagues are running scared. Polls show that the Democratic Party is likely to lose control over the House of Representatives. The Democrats will also likely see their control over the Senate weakened if not lost. As the Wall Street Journal's political analyst John Fund reported this week, out of 70 competitive Congressional districts, the Democrats will likely lose 60 and so lose control over the House.

Going into such a problematic electoral season, the last thing Obama needs is an open confrontation with Israel. A new row with Netanyahu will not only harm Democrats in key states like Florida, New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Pennsylvania. It will harm the Democrats' fundraising efforts among Jewish American donors. Over the past several months there have been repeated reports that Jewish Americans are drastically cutting back their donations to Democrats. The current trend will likely escalate if Obama forces Netanyahu into a corner next week.

What this means is that Netanyahu is well placed to stand up to Obama's pressure. If he plays his cards wisely, he can say no to Obama and avoid an open confrontation. For instance, instead of agreeing to extend the building prohibition, Netanyahu should say that he is willing to discuss that demand in face-to-face negotiations with Abbas. Rather than agree to Abbas's preconditions, Netanyahu should say that he is willing to listen to Abbas's position in face-to-face negotiations. And so on and so forth. Such statements by Netanyahu will take the pressure for making concessions off him and put Obama and Abbas on the spot.

Even more importantly, it will buy Israel time. And buying time should be Israel's chief goal with respect to Washington today. Since taking office, Obama has repeatedly demonstrated that he will not reconsider his fundamentally hostile view of Israel. Obama's basic belief that Israel's strength and size are to blame for all the violence and radicalism in the Arab world is not subject to change regardless of how clearly and continuously events on the ground prove it wrong.
Read it all.

By the way, the Obama administration has asked Netanyahu to bring Ehud Barak along on the trip. Barak is seen as much more pliable than Netanyahu and still believes that his flight from Lebanon was a brilliant move. We should all urge Netanyahu to leave Barak home.


At 6:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

gut voch

it is time for israel to change its electoral policy

in a normal government, barak would have absolutely no place

he definitely wouldve been fired after the flotilla deal

this creating a government through coalitions doesnt work

as for holding out till the dems lose power....what does that change

the president, not the congress, is in charge of foreign policy

anyway...funds poll numbers are way off....incumbents on both sides of the aisle are getting killed

and the republicans, in their need to go far right crazy, have nominated some absolute losers...which inlcudes rabid jew hater and troofer, rand paul

so i think the dems hold onto a tiny majority in the congress and senate

but hopefully that will send a wakeup call to the dems

At 8:55 AM, Blogger Eliana said...

There seems to have been another erroneous Arab newspaper report in London recently about what Mahmoud Abbas intends to "offer" in the peace talks (as if he ever negotiates about anything rather than simply making the same old demands again and again). Specific settlement areas were named in this report as being part of Abu Mazen's supposed intention of allowing a trade for settlements with empty land.

Since the report came out, of course, Fatah/PA/PLO spokesmen are totally denying that Abu Mazen has said any such thing.

Abu Mazen does from time to time IMPLY that he'd be willing to trade land for some of the large settlement blocs, but I recall a few years ago when he was asked specifically about being willing to give up large settlements in exchange for empty land.

Abu Mazen himself said in response to this question that this had NEVER been the "Palestinians'" intention. He said quite specifically that he would only agree to trade empty land for empty land with Israel.

In other words, he is demanding to take over all the developed real estate that Israel has built in Judea, Samaria and northern, southern and eastern Jerusalem - HOWEVER, he would be willing to a swap that would give Israel new empty land that Israel can spend decades and billions on developing again from scratch while the "Palestinians" take over everything Israel has built outside the green line up to now.

Abu Mazen is still demanding every square centimeter of the land that Israel won in 1967, in other words.

He isn't asking for anything less than what Arafat demanded.

His implications about being willing to give up his demands for certain settlements are just his usual lies.

At 9:40 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Barak has for all practical intents and purpose sidelined Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman - who is viewed as too strong-headed to please foreign governments. Israeli foreign policy has been reduced it seems to a single objective: acting as America's banana republic.

What could go wrong indeed


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