Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Yossi Klein Halevi outlines his Bibi-Obama peace plan.
Enemies of the American-Israeli alliance could not have conjured a scenario more fraught with potential for misunderstanding. In Washington, a new president is reaching out to the Muslim world, including Iran. In Jerusalem, the government about to take office represents the disillusionment of the Israeli public with 15 years of failed peace talks. For President Barack Obama, power is a means to encourage the rational self-interest of opponents. For Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu, power is the means of defending his people from irrational hatred. Mr. Obama’s mandate is for change; Mr. Netanyahu’s is for survival.
1) "Instead of continuing to pursue the unattainable, the American-Israeli approach should focus on creating a civil society in the West Bank that is an essential precondition for the eventual creation of a Palestinian state."
2) "The tacit agreement between Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu, then, needs to be American acquiescence in continued building within the highly populated settlement blocs, in exchange for Israeli restraint in building beyond the blocs."
3) "By focusing on thwarting Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, the U.S. and Israel will find Arab allies like Egypt and Saudi Arabia. That dynamic is already creating a shift in regional alliances, and could eventually lead to a real Middle East peace process."
So far, Klein Halevi argues, Netanyahu has been doing the reaching out. Now it’s Obama’s turn to step up:
In sparing Israel a narrow right-wing coalition and by persisting in creating a semblance of a national unity government, Mr. Netanyahu has taken the essential first steps in protecting his country’s relationship with Washington. Now Washington needs to take the next step and affirm its readiness to work with the Netanyahu-Barak government to save the Middle East from apocalyptic threat.