Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Obama 1; Netanyahu 0

There's a lot on the interwebs today about the results of Israel's elections. My favorite is Andy Sullivan's.

Bibi is still highly likely to be prime minister for a while, but also as decapitalized by his re-election as Obama was recapitalized by his. That leaves an opening. In my view, the president and next secretary of state should now lay out a detailed, mapped, two-state division that the US supports and present it to both Fatah and Jerusalem. If Jerusalem balks, the US should switch its vote at the UN to abstain on Palestinian statehood. If the PA balks, we'll discover something important about them: their willingness to sacrifice for a state alongside and at peace with a Jewish one. Hamas? Leave them out of it for a while, or open up a back-channel. But as Obama's power waxes and Netanyahu's wanes, it would be crazy not to seize the moment.

And that moment is defined by a core fact: the Israeli public is clearly not on the same page as America's neoconservatives right now, not as fixated on the same things they are, and more concerned about their own core well-being than geopolitics or apocalyptic family psychodramas. What the American electorate just told the GOP, the Israeli electorate just told its own far-right government: moderate or get out of the way (my em). Which could be put more simply.

Meep meep.

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