April 27, 2010

DEAL? PRESENT THEM WITH A FAIT ACCOMPLI:

Israel’s fear and loathing of Obama (Gideon Rachman, April 26 2010, Financial Times)

The Israelis’ furious reaction to the pressure they are under from the Obama administration is reminiscent of the British rage early in the Northern Irish peace process, when it became clear that our American allies were intent on “talking to the terrorists” of the Irish Republican Army. But, as it turned out, the Americans were right to insist that there was a peace deal to be made with the IRA. They are right again on the Middle East peace process. There is still a deal to be had – and if Israel does not take it soon, the long-term survival of the Jewish state will be imperilled.

In their more reflective moments, some senior Israeli politicians will acknowledge that a two-state solution is as vital for Israel as it is for the Palestinians. Dividing the land is the only way of ensuring that Israel remains both Jewish and democratic. The continued occupation of the West Bank, by contrast, always carries with it the risk of another Palestinian intifada, and is the major cause of Israel’s dreadful global image. Israeli politicians worry that the “delegitimisation” of their state has spread from the Muslim world to Europe. Tzipi Livni, leader of the Israeli opposition, recently had to cancel a trip to Britain for fear that she would be arrested on war-crimes charges.

Yet for all their long-term concerns, the Israelis have failed to make vital concessions, because the status quo still feels more comfortable.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 27, 2010 5:49 AM
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