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Bibi, Livni, Obama

Marc Amusin


Benjamin Netanyahu

Only before several days commentators defined the state of coalition talks as “full gas on neutral”, meaning: a lot of noise without any advance. Today one can see some movement, although on the first speed – Tsipy Livni and her party Tnua were the first to fall into Netanyahu’s arms.

The motives of the two contracting parties are clear enough. Livni has staken her all on the card of political survival, while repulsing the critics with the slogan “Political process above all”. Bibi, of course, was in need of a start. It is too early to judge the final results of the political bargaining. But all its participants, besides other considerations, keep in mind the approaching Obama’s visit.

Our establishment is going to reveal readiness to talks with Palestinians. But whether it is ready for the real settlement? It is a big question. The ministers of the Jewish Home expressed already their opinion rather clearly: negotiations are not a problem for us, until they lead to nothing. The Likud politicians, for example Tsakhi Anegbi, imply that it is certainly possible to resume negotiations process but the latter is doomed to failure in advance because of Palestinians who will spoil everything as usual. Nice starting position indeed!

Palestinians are also in complicated situation. The crowd rages, demanding to release prisoners from behind Israeli bars or, at least, to save lives of those who are for a long time on hunger strike. The fact is that the Palestinian population at large also does not lead a life of luxury – the PA is in a bitter lack of money. Serious commentators speak about the threat of a new Intifada. Makhmud Abbas has to make constantly evolutions in search of chances.


Barack Obama

In short, during the upcoming Obama’s visit both sides will try to impress the President by the stories of their troubles and to gain his favour. But it is necessary to search the way to settlement in the least for the sake of Uncle Sam!

There was already plenty of talks about the “window of opportunity” which is narrowing on our eyes. The topic may bore anybody to death but it doesn’t get less vital. If there is no border, no division, no mutual recognition of sovereignty we shall continue to slide towards two-nations state. Nobody – neither Bibi, nor Bennet, nor Rivlin, nor Feiglin – has suggested any real alternative.

One can here voices – now as well as in the past – from the “national”, that is far-right camp, blaming the “leftists” with naivety, with seeking to gain Palestinians’ friendship out of idealistic, in fact suicidal motives. Such a criticism can be easily reversed.

It is exactly the supporters of the indivisible Land of Israel that invite us to permanent and close living together with these “swindlers” and “robbers”, who, they say, are not capable for anything except shedding the Jewish blood.

If the Palestinians are really like that – whether their life under the hated Israeli power may produce a positive pedagogical influence upon them and turn the Palestinians into good neighbors and co-citizens? Something is defective in this logic.

It is better for both sides, from shear practical reasons, regardless of what they think on each other, to live in the “national homes” of their own. It is quite probable that the best time for resolving the conflict and reaching peaceful agreement is really missed. Immediately after Makhmud Abbas coming to power Hamas was far less strong and, what is more important, the Arab Peace Initiative was yet quite actual. Today the things are different. The long Israeli stubbornness in refuse plus the flood of Arab spring have cooled substantially the aspiration of the moderate Arabian regimes for the full-scale agreement.  Current processes in the Muslim world may take any unexpected turn including dangerous ones.

On the other hand real military threats to Israel from Egypt, Syria Iraq have reduced substantially. It is hard to imagine in the near future the rise of some united Arab front against Israel. The unpredictable dynamics possibly conceals new opportunities. Thus, maybe, it is high time now to make use of uncertainty and try to reach agreement with Palestinians by paying substantial but reasonable price? Of course the success of negotiations does not depend entirely on us. Still it seems more productive to make a serious and honest attempt than to continue with hollow gestures which are not able to deceive anybody.

Hopefully the joining of Tsipy Livni to the emerging government is a good sign. Still it is more probable that our leaders will prefer to imitate good will in front of America, while hoping that status-quo will continue and the problems will dissappear somehow


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