The big guns are being sent. Coming here in the week ahead are US Med-East envoy John Mitchell, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, US National Security Advisor James Jones with some 10 members of his staff, and — the most recent addition to this group, and from our perspective the most desirable — Dennis Ross.
They are not, as I understand it, coming as one entourage — although clearly it’s not accident that they will all be arriving in the same week. There will be separate discussions, the topics being mainly settlements and Iran. This is being represented as something positive — an enhanced communication between the two countries.
Netanyahu, being Netanyahu, found it necessary yesterday to make what is perhaps best described as a “conciliatory” statement (another adjective that fleetingly occurred to me is “nauseating”), in advance of these visits, concerning the fact that Israel “value[s] efforts of Arab states to advance peace initiatives,” and believes the “spirit of reconciliation” expressed in their approach may lead to a regional peace, etc. etc.
Please keep in mind, as you read this, what I wrote yesterday regarding the intransigence of the Saudis with regard to making gestures towards Israel. The Saudi plan is non-negotiable and requires us to move back to pre-67 lines, take in “refugees,” and all the rest.
Yesterday Netanyahu for the first time expressed interest in this plan, but only if it is NOT a final, non-negotiable offer. But they’re not going to soften and he certainly knows it. So this is game-playing for appearances to a large extent.
This statement doesn’t mean he will necessarily cave in any particular way (although he might), so much as it indicates a desire to tell them, “See, I’m on board.” This is his style.
At any rate, it is, once again, appropriate to let him know that we absolutely want him to stand strong and not cave. Please, take the time to do this:
Fax: 02-670-5369 (From the US: 011-972-2-670-5369)
Phone: 03-610-9898 (From the US: 011-972-3-610-9898)
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (underscore after pm)
I make the observation here that Obama’s very rigid stance and unreasonable demands on us have made it more difficult for Netanyahu to appear to cave. We cannot count on a continuation of this situation (even though it IS likely to continue) as a way of ensuring that our rights will be protected. We need to know, quite simply, that we have leaders who will protect us.
Please see this article by Amnon Lord, editor of Makor Rishon. He provides an excellent analysis regarding the dynamics between Obama and Netanyahu.
Lord writes that the one positive that may come out of this is a rapprochement between Israel and Egypt, who share common concerns. I note in passing, for whatever it’s worth, that the Netanyahu statement yesterday was made at the home of the Egyptian ambassador to Israel.
I want to simply mention here that Jordan is in the process of revoking the Jordanian citizenship of certain Palestinians. This is a complex issue with a considerable history, and I would like to return to this when time allows. His motive appears to be a response to efforts to construct Jordan as the Palestinian state, which, of course, with its 70% Palestinian population and its original status as part of the Mandate for Palestine, it is.
Please see the following with regard to polls that reflect Israeli wariness with notions of a Palestinian state, trust of the PA and all the rest.