Recently, I wrote about a Shimon Shiffer Yediot report claiming that Rahm Emanuel confirmed Obama’s intention to create a Palestinian state during his first term. The story also revealed that Obama had gotten tough with Bibi and that he would continue to tighten the screws by cancelling a planned D.C. first meeting. Some of my readers felt I was being unduly optimistic about Obama’s backbone and his ability to rein Bibi in.
But today’s Haaretz report that George Mitchell slapped down Bibi’s demand that the Palestinians first accept Israel as a Jewish state BEFORE he will negotiate with them, makes me believe my original hunch was right:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people as a condition for renewing peace talks is unacceptable to the United States, the State Department said during special envoy George Mitchell’s visits over the weekend to Ramallah and Cairo.
…Mitchell’s talks also seem to indicate that the United States does not accept Netanyahu’s position that the renewal of negotiations should be postponed until the Iranian nuclear threat is removed.
The rightist demand that the PA recognize Israel as a Jewish state is of course a ridiculous pose. In essence, it demands that the Palestinians give up any negotiating leverage BEFORE negotiations begin. It means entirely giving up the Right of Return BEFORE negotiations begin. And it means giving up those important principles BEFORE getting ANYTHING in return from the Israelis.
It may be true that the U.S. cannot impose a settlement on the Israelis. But I foresee a possible analogy to the process of breaking a wild horse. The animal is too proud and strong to break. But eventually, you close off enough avenues of escape and finally make it realize it has only one real choice and that is to do what you wish it to do. Mitchell’s rebuke is but one more splash of cold water in Bibi’s face, attempting to make him realize that he will be on a short leash and that the administration will not allow him to freelance for the benefit of his rightist constitutency.
No doubt you’ve heard the Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Well, these are most interesting times and somehow I don’t feel cursed at all.