by Moshe Arens
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his advisors are exerting their best efforts in the search for ways to avoid a confrontation with the president of the
There are surely ways of postponing the collision, but in the final analysis, it is unavoidable, unless either the Israeli government accepts this diktat from the
So how is Netanyahu going to handle this conundrum? He had experience dealing with president Bill Clinton on the Palestinian issue during his previous term as prime minister, and it is unlikely that he looks back on that experience with nostalgia.
In January 1997, giving in to pressure from the Clinton administration, he signed the Hebron agreement - which called for removing the Israel Defense Forces from most of Hebron and introducing a small international force into the area - with Yasser Arafat. Since then, Hamas has been predominant in
The year after the
So how is it going to be handled this time? From news reports, it seems that Netanyahu intends to keep Obama at bay for a limited period of time while he placates his own supporters with a permit to "complete buildings in Judea and
Is this going to work? Obama has decided to take his position on Jewish settlements in Judea and
That being the case, Netanyahu must consider whether it is not wiser to face Washington on a matter of principle - the right of Jews to live and settle in the Land of Israel - rather than engage in a war of attrition over a compromise formula. Anybody with experience representing
Over the years, Israeli governments have had differences of opinions with various administrations in Washington - though it is true that not since President Eisenhower demanded that the IDF retreat from Sinai and Gaza after the Suez Campaign, 50 years ago, have these differences been taken so public by the U.S. president. We obviously prefer to be in total agreement with our ally across the sea, but we know that is not always possible. We also prefer to handle the differences of opinion between us with discretion.
But in either case, we know that we can ride out the disagreements.
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