Walt’s “Two State Solution: Netanyahu’s Coalition Seems Too Hardline at the Moment
The opinions and recommendations that Dr. Stephen Walt seems to endorse are certainly important if the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority wish to take concrete steps towards peace. In fact, the idea that Fatah’s current leader, Mahmoud Abbas, is considered a pro-western Palestinian politician is a step in the right direction. For the last few years, Mr. Abbas has made a rather genuine attempt to forge a comprehensive dialogue with Jerusalem; despite the Hamas Movement’s continued defiance of working with an “oppressive occupying power”. Mr. Abbas’ declaration that he is willing to recognize Israel’s legitimacy in the heart of the Islamic world is a testament to how intimately involved he is in the whole process.
Yet, it seems like the United States (as Dr. Walt implies) is extremely hesitant to praise the Palestinian President for work on this front. The reason is quite understandable of course: any western support for Abbas would severely alter Washington’s diplomatic and military relationship with Israel.
As fearful as this sounds, this may be precisely the policy change that Washington needs in order to finally advance a Middle Eastern peace deal. Sure, AIPAC and other Israeli lobby’s hold considerable sway in the U.S. Congress. And yes, Israel is America’s only true ally in a region that has been historically ridden with anti-western sentiment. With that being said, sacrificing U.S. national interests to keep pro-Israeli lobbyists happy baffles the mind. Israel needs the United States more than the United States needs Israel.
Perhaps it is time to cut off a portion of Washington’s military ties with Israel, especially if the Jewish state is unwilling to adopt reasonable concessions towards peace. One finds it increasingly hard to believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu would continue building settlements in the West Bank with such a threat looming in the air.
I do not want to sound like a biased observer that is dead set against the state of Israel. There is no question that Israel is surrounded by hostile Arab fundamentalists (such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran) who make it their main objective to destroy its very existence. Let me be absolutely clear: I am a supporter of Israel when it comes to its fight against terrorism and Islamic extremism.
Yet, at the same time, the current obstacle to the Israel-Palestine conflict is not the leadership of Mr. Abbas or his Fatah coalition (as past U.S. presidents have declared). It is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s refusal to compromise. As long as Netanyahu and the Israeli Right continue to reject claims of an independent Palestinian state without unreasonable preconditions, President Obama might as well give up on trying to forge a peace agreement between these two longstanding rivals.
-Daniel R. DePetris