by Barry Rubin
One is the Obama Administration’s realization that its harsh policy toward
There is also, however, a third reason which relates to substantive issues. The White House wants to hear from Netanyahu what his views and plans are regarding negotiations with the Palestinians. The Obama Administration is eager for progress on indirect talks, hopeful of moving to direct talks (which Netanyahu very much wants to do), and is also looking at longer-range possibilities.
My view is that Netanyahu should stress the following:
At this point, he explains the need to recognize Israel as a Jewish state; demilitarization of any Palestinian state (which I would call “nonmilitarization,” meaning that it keeps existing security forces but doesn’t build separate, conventional armed forces); that any agreement will permanently end the conflict and all Palestinian claims; and that all refugees must be resettled in the state of Palestine. He must also explain in detail what
To a lesser extent, Netanyahu can discuss his views on borders. But his task is to break the pattern in which only Palestinian demands are considered and debated. In this context, the question is only what will
This is a reasonable set of demands and one that the Palestinian Authority (PA) would be able to meet if it were a “normal” political entity seeking a permanent two-state solution.
Unfortunately, the leadership—and even more those who stand behind them in Fatah—wants to wipe
The current PA strategy is to pretend cooperation but ensure that, in effect, the talks are sabotaged. It hopes at some point next year to go to the
The point for Netanyahu, then, is to express his total cooperation with peace efforts. If the PA refuses direct negotiations and rejects reasonable offers he must show that this will not be
Another approach suggests that Netanyahu should offer some kind of interim solution in which the PA would become a de facto state leaving
Remember the issue here is not what a final diplomatic solution would look like but what negotiating posture Netanyahu will take in his White House visit.
Two other points must be mentioned. Netanyahu will show appreciation for the
Finally, Netanyahu is going to have to use all his smoothness and charm to educate his interlocutors about what the Middle East is really like without ever hinting that he is being patronizing or arrogant. That’s a tall order but if any Israeli can do that, Netanyahu can.
In contrast to the last visit, where he was received quite rudely, this one is set to be a love fest publicly. Eventually, we will find out whether it was that way privately as well.
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