Why Bibi won’t budge

Ever since David Ignatius revealed that President Obama is “seriously considering” proposing an American peace plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Washington’s Middle East hands have been ruminating on the significance of this report. Obama dropped in on a meeting of former national security advisers in the White House a couple of weeks ago, but if the people whose job it is to keep the dream of a peace process alive are to be believed, who was there was more significant than the president’s casual entry.

Brent Scowcroft, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Sandy Berger, Colin Powell, Frank Carlucci and Robert C. McFarlane — these are the heavyweights who can push Obama in the right direction. Right? Not unless Benjamin Netanyahu also gets pushed out of the way.

Larry Derfner lays out the reasons Bibi presents an immovable obstacle.

Which way will Bibi go? This seems to be the big question – whether Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will bow to American pressure, exchange his right-wing/religious government for a “peace coalition” and start taking down the occupation, or whether he will dig in.

I don’t think there’s any doubt about it – he’s going to dig in. This is not the prime minister who’s going to divide the land with the Palestinians.

To begin with, of the 69 MKs in an imagined Likud-Kadima-Labor-Meretz coalition, the great majority are totally opposed to paying the well-known price for peace – removing 100,000 settlers from the West Bank’s interior and relinquishing Arab Jerusalem to the Palestinians for their capital. No Likudnik sees this as anything less than treason, and all but a few Kadima members would agree. The peace coalition actually numbers no more than about 20 MKs, and even with the outside support of the Arab parties, they’re a hopeless minority, for now anyway.

Still, could a prime minister who has the president of the United States and the rest of the world bearing down on him convince the majority to do the deal? Could a prime minister with unusual powers of persuasion persuade the country to do what the democratic world has been asking it to do since 1967, on pain of losing its place in that world?

Maybe. If such a prime minister really believed Israel’s future depended on its ending the occupation. And Netanyahu doesn’t believe that for a minute. He’s spent his whole career preaching the opposite – that giving up the land conquered in the Six Day War would be the death of this country. This isn’t a talking point for him, it’s the worldview he was raised on, one he’s never abandoned regardless of the empty phrases he utters now and then to stroke the Obama administration. Netanyahu has opposed every peace process he’s ever been around. His view of the Palestinians is simple, clear and consistent – either we keep them down or they wipe us out.

And just in case anyone imagines that there is any other Israeli leader who could do what Netanyahu finds impossible, Derfner is clear: “No there isn’t. Not now, anyway.” Instead, it’s up to Israel’s friends “to make the status quo here intolerable.”

That’s a big leap from simply observing that the status quo is unsustainable.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

4 thoughts on “Why Bibi won’t budge

  1. Ian Arbuckle

    If Israel cannot be made to go one way, and Obama’s pre-election speech to AIPAC, suggests he never had the intention to push them anyway, perhaps Mr.O’s answer is to force them to go so far the other that they hits the brick wall on the track their on, redrawing the map of the ME, or collapsing in flames. That would be a war with Syria, Iran, and Lebanon, with Hamas and Hezbollah, raining rockets on Haifa and Tel Aviv, and most of the world thinking if not saying, “about bloody time that Israel is squarely defeated!”. But, it most likely will be just bent, but not broken by such a massive war.

    Is this is what Mr. O. has in mind but cannot tell, to “kill” as many birds as he can with the same bloody stones and as far as possible appear like the “man of reason”, the good cop while Bibi lights the skys with fires and fans the flames? It would fit with prepositioned US munitions and weapons which are available to Israel under agreements, and anti ballistic missile Land-Based SM-3 Missiles systems now operated in Israel and Patriot systems now in 4 Persian Gulf states dispatched in January by American military.

    The positioning of deep penetration bunker busters at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean for use against Irans nuclear instalations was also made known last month.

    These were expected by Israel proper but were aparantly diverted. Also in April Israel rolled out Trophy it’s anti missile system for tank defences, that may make a difference from the last encounter with Hezbollah.

    The last thing the American people and the world needs is another war, but it seems that everything is being prepared for just that. All the ducks are being put into a line including a lot of what appears to me anyway like staged foreplay between Bibi and Mr. O. to get the story right before the UNSC is used yet again as an excuse for yet another war of agression.

    I’ll be more than happy to be proved absolutely wrong two or three months from now.

  2. Jose

    If Obama stops the flood o money and weapons, Bibi will budge.

    Millions of Americans will appreciate and celebrate such a move.

    Americans are been foreclosed and thrown out of their homes by Jewish banks.

    Meanwhile Bibi is building free homes, with US taxpayer’s money, for Jews being move into Israel from other countries.

  3. Renfro

    So Bibi is immovable.
    So what next?
    Let it continue until Israel drags us down with them?

    Ideally the US should cut off the aid money and then impose sanctions, bringing the EU on board with sanctions and boycotts, on Israel. That would leave Israel basically dead in the water. Europe is Israel largest trading partner and I believe the US is their second largest.

    To cut off the money and impose sanctions though, Obama would have to go before the public with his bully pulpit, flanked by military commanders and put it to the American people as a matter of US security and interest. The only reason I say put it to the American public on security is…. so our vichy congress would start “sweating blood”.
    Congress and all the Israeli appendages have to be neutered and cast as something like traitorous if they make a peep about any actions Obama takes to safeguard US security and interest.

    Does Obama have the balls to do it? He’s already got the military green light., congress has already ‘been told” by CENTCOM ..he’s got all he needs.
    Except enough money to make up for the 60% of dem campaign contributions that come from Jewish orgs…..but there’s a lot of money in the world besides the Jewish money, so that could be overcome.

    Channel Ike Obama.

Comments are closed.