Netanyahu is certainly the leader of a free and legitimate country but he is neither on America's side or the side of Israel's security. He is doing everything in his power to make sure the one solution that could protect Israel as a majority Jewish state and advance the USA's strategic interests in the region does not happen.
The fact that there is no Palestinian leader of any political persuasion good or bad of a free and legitimate state is because what would be Palestine is being occupied and colonized by a foreign power.
That about sums it up. Let's not forget the attempted coup against Hamas because the Gaza elections result were not to our liking. There are no good guys in this story. All the actors have blood on their hands and contributed to the current mess.
Was it PM Rabin who said something to the affect that you don't negotiate peace with your friends you negotiate with your enemies. Hamas, Likud, Netanyahu, Fatah, they are all thugs responsible for horrendous crimes but the road to security and peace for Israeli's and Palestinians lies through them as we don't get to choose the Israeli's or the Palestinians political leaders.
If you have a friend or family member engaged in self-destructive behavior you do not enable it. How anyone could think that establishing an apartheid state in the occupied territories and enforcing through lethal force, occupation and further colonization is in the interests of Israeli security is beyond me. Just because the Israeli's are determined to continue the policies of Bush-Cheney, their own religious fanatics and the Neo-cons does not mean we must follow.
Time for some tough love. The Israeli's hold most of the cards. They are occupying the future Palestine, control through force the Palestinian population and are engaged in ethnic cleansing and colonization of the lands they occupy. Obama jumped in the middle of this and he now has no choice but to move ahead.
If there is ever peace both parties will continue to believe they were the victims and there will never be agreement at who deserves moral condemnation and who was the injured party and there does not have to be.
All that is important now is that a solution is crafted that allows for 2 sovereign states for 2 peoples to live in security without interference from the other. No doubt each state will have it's own biased narrative of history. That is normal. There is no point in an American president putting his head on the chopping block of the IP issue if he is not going to have the cojones to do what is needed to get results.
For to long our policy has not been about results but about domestic politicking and pandering. Right now Netanyahu is standing between Obama and his goal. If Obama allows Netanyahu to be in the drivers seat he may as well pick up his marbles and go home now. Somehow I don't think that is going to happen.
For some it is about more freedom, for some it is for a return to the ideals of the Islamic revolution. That is why the chants of or Hossein, Hossein Mir and God is Great. Without reform minded segments of the clergy and leaders of the Islamic revolution involvement in the green movement this would have been isolated to the more secular upper classes of Teheran and would have been over long ago.
It would have far reaching consequences if the Iranians could reclaim Islam from the extremists as well as expand democracy and transparency in Iran and pursue a less confrontational foreign policy.
If the greens win it will still be an Islamic state and the issue of nuclear development will not go away. But we wil have much better prospects for talks and cooperation on issues of common interest.
Palestinians will have to give up the right of return and accept a majority Jewish state of Israel and Israel will have to clear out all the settlements and accept a real independent sovereign Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as it's capital. Who did what to who and when does not matter at this point. It's what solution will provide security and peace for the two populations, Israeli and Palestinian going forward.
If there is a peace and two states established will all Israeli and Palestinians accept it? No, you will never get 100% acceptance but so what, as long as the rejectionist nuts don't have veto power and their violence can be kept mostly in check. Yes, there will be Israelis who see it as a temporary set back in their quest to establish an Arab free greater Israel and there will be Palestinians who see it as a stepping stone to the destruction of Israel. But the majority on both sides just want to get on with their lives in peace and with opportunities for themselves and their children. The fanatics will quickly be marginalized by realistic signs of peace and economic growth.
Although this may mean different things to different people for the purposes of the peace process I take it to mean a state with a sizable Jewish majority. Given recent history that is the only near term guarantee of security for the Jewish population of Israel.
The danger of the settlements from the point of view of Israeli security is that they threaten to incorporate a huge Palestinian population into an expanded Israeli state threatening the existence of a Israel as a majority Jewish state.
For this reason the 'right of return' can not accommodate more then some token number of Palestinians and 100% of the settlements must go and the Palestinians have a real viable state if there is to be peace.
Obama didn't just jump into such a strong and risky position on a whim. He gamed this out, knew exactly what the reaction of the Likud would be and how they would try and use organizations like AIPAC. He knew the end game before he opened his mouth. He knew how he would handle the Democrats and AIPAC.
Bibi on the other hand went home in shock that everything did not go as it always does. This is not business as usual. Obama has decided he is not ready to move on gay rights and he has not. Obviously he is ready to move on the IP issue. He will not take no for an answer and barring some outside event that changes the landscape in a way he could not anticipate he will move forward regardless what Hamas, the Likud or any of the rejectionist parties that usually get a veto on peace want.
The US supplies a significant percent of Israel's defense budget including what might be the majority of the fuel to keep Israel's military rolling. If Obama has the resolve and could withstand the domestic blowback he could stop the settlement expansion tomorrow and bring down Bibi's government.
The Israeli's have been laboring under the delusion that they are a super power on a level with the US. That is an illusion that could be punctured very quickly if Obama, like Eisenhower did before him, chose to act. Obama is not an ideologue, he is practical, results oriented and ruthless when he needs to be. He plans on accomplishing some things while in office and solving the IP issue in a way that guarantees security for Israeli's and Palestinians is one of them. Right now the Israeli government is standing in his way.
What do you think is more likely? Bibi destroys Obama politically or Obama destroys Bibi? It's quickly approaching one or the other outcome. I know who I'm betting on.
Ask how many of those self-identified conservatives if they want to do away with Liberal programs like social security and medicaid and see how conservative they really are. Decades and billions in very effective marketing has a larger number of people identifying with the brand then with the actual policies it represents.
Netanyahu came out for more of the same. We will continue to expand the settlements until a Palestinian state is impossible. But I'll try and forestall a confrontation with the US as long as possible by giving a speech that offers nothing of substance but some meaningless platitudes.
He coudn't come right out and tell Obama to go shit in his hat so he basically told him I am going to continue to obstruct your desire to halt the settlements and make any progress but he couched it in a blizzard of BS hoping that buys him some time to continue the annexation of what is to be the Palestinian state. In other words he is going to continue the colonization and ethnic cleansing of the West Bank. That is all that matters everything else he said is insignificant.
Bibi's speech was just a stall tactic to try and continue stealing more land putting effectively the last nails in the coffin of a 2 state solution while putting off a confrontation with the US.
In the end though on the Palestinian side, the right of return will have to be given up as will 100% of the settlements and East Jerusalem on the Israeli side.
As far as not having an army. Costa Rica has only a national police force. That has not hobbled it's ability to defend itself. How much of a new Palestine's resources do you think should be diverted to a military which would be useless against the IDF but would likely be a threat to Palestinian democracy? It would be a waste of resources better used rebuilding Palestine's economy and society.
While we are on the subject of armaments when will the US insist that Israel sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and give up it's nuclear arsenal. A bit rich threatening any nation in the Middle East with military action over nuclear weapons when we ignore the only country actually building weapons of mass destruction in the region. And to add insult to injury we pay a huge chunk of Israel's defense budget so they can use the money to build nuclear weapons and enforce colonization and ethnic cleansing.
It's no wonder we never make any progress towards peace as politicians ignore reality and talk platitudes and propaganda.
You can bet that any Israeli leader that seriously threatens the settlers dream of a greater Israel ethnically cleansed of Arabs will be marked for death by the settler movement. The Israeli government has created it's own Hamas and soon it may be more concerned with the security risk posed by the extremist settler's then with any Palestinian terrorist.
The Lebanese electorate has responded and it looks like the Iranian electorate may second that positive response. If that happens maybe the Israeli and Palestinian electorates will catch the wave and dump their own political thugs and religious extremists.
America can not lead by torture, terror and fear. It leads by promoting American ideals and backing up the noble words that underpin our democracy with noble deeds. Our military power is only effective when used in that context. Our ideals are a weapon more powerful then any weapon the terrorists can deploy. Bush and Cheney unilaterally dis-armed the US and left us vulnerable to our enemies.