Mideast’s Dr. No


Gary Rosenblatt has it exactly right: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “should have responded positively to the president’s speeches instead of reinforcing his image that he — rather than Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas — is the Mideast’s Dr. No” (“Bibi Opts For Confrontation,” May 27).

This image is contributing to Israel’s increasing international isolation and leading many countries that do not automatically vote against Israel in the United Nations to say they may do so in September when the Palestinians seek UN recognition.

In his speeches President Barack Obama offered Netanyahu a possible way out of this dilemma facing Israel and a route back to the negotiating table, but the Israeli leader rejected this offer outright. Abbas then said he would proceed with seeking UN recognition, which would be only symbolic, rather than pursue negotiations.

Sadly, neither Netanyahu nor Abbas has been acting like a leader of his people.

Now Abbas has accepted the French offer to sponsor talks based, in part, on Obama’s proposal, announced in his speeches, that negotiations on borders should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed land swaps. Netanyahu should also accept. For the sake of Israel’s security and future as a Jewish and democratic state, he should not continue being “the Mideast’s Dr. No.”


The author is a former chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.