Wednesday, 20 May 2009

A Tough Nut to Crack

It has been a long time since Israel has faced any real pressure from America over their position in the Middle-East but this is potentially set to change during the Obama era. Recently vice-president Joe Biden told AIPAC: "You’re not going to like me saying this, but [do] not build those settlements. Dismantle existing outposts, and allow the Palestinians freedom of movement,". Israel itself is in a good position to fight it's corner though and arguably couldn't have a better man to lead the charge. Binyamin Netanyahu disrupted the peace process as Prime Minsiter from 1996-99 leading Bill Clinton to splutter "that son of a bitch doesn't want a deal". Although Obama himself is a novice in this sticky mire he will be aware that Netanyahu will back down under pressure. Furthermore, it is my opinion that George Mitchell will prove himself to be an effective peace envoy to the region.

Netanyahu doesn't come to the table empty-handed though and refuses to prevent the growth of Jewish settlements and will not surrender the Golan Heights amongst publicly refusing to accept the notion of two states. In this respect, Obama cannot afford to give to much away and must play a tough game. The Democrat administration may even be helping Israel in the long-term by doing so as it will force them to take actions which will appease the Arab states. Another thing which must be sorted out is the government of the Palestinian state which must provide a stable base. Again, Israel must co-operate strongly here even if this means not interfering.

One thing is for sure though. Obama must get stuck in to this problem now in order to deal with the conflict and cannot stick with the rhetoric seen on Monday. Obama gives a keynote speech in Cairo next month and it is certainly no understatement to say the world waits.