[Guest post by DRJ]
In a major foreign policy address, Israel’s Netanyahu has agreed to negotiate without preconditions but insists any agreement will have conditions:
“In an much-anticipated foreign policy address Sunday night Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called for the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state alongside Israel, but only if the Palestinians recognize Israel’s nature as a Jewish state.
Netanyahu said that he embraced President Barack Obama’s vision, adding, however, that the Holocaust was not the reason for the establishment of the Jewish state.
The prime minister said that the descendants of the Palestinian refugees must not be resettled within Israel borders and that Jerusalem must remain united. Israel, he said, would not build any new settlements or expropriate new land for existing settlements.”
Netanyahu’s speech also focused on Iran’s threat to Israel, and it may be no coincidence that his announcement came just one day after Ahmadinejad’s election victory. A Debkafile report speculates that the Obama Administration’s support for Ahmadinejad’s opponent, Mousavi, was designed to encourage the mullahs to change leaders but it failed:
“But the White House decided to seize on Mousavi’s build-up as a candidate capable of beating the hard-line Ahmadinjed and leading Iran to change in order to vindicate Obama’s hopes of a successful dialogue with Tehran.
By falling through, this scheme placed a big question mark over the US president’s essential strategy of diplomatically engaging rogue states to de-emphasize conflict.”
Every modern U.S. President has tried and failed to solve the Palestinian problem, and I doubt Barack Obama alone can do any better. Given Obama’s lackluster support for Israel to date, Netanyahu cannot bargain from strength but I wonder if this is his effort to ensure Israel has a say in whatever Obama tries next.