There is a growing impression among Israelis that President Barak Obama’s upcoming visit, including a few hours in the West Bank, will be more decisive than the White House currently anticipates.
The results of the January elections in Israel provided an opening for many groups to seek to deter Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reckless intransigence and his propensity to dictate rather than to persuade. Centrists and leftists along the political spectrum have been relatively emboldened and are hoping for a new political map, albeit with a right-wing twist. The election results, they hope, will enable them to have their voices taken more seriously by Obama.
This is an opening for the president of the United States, as an ally of Israel, to indicate that Israel’s current policies of intransigence and settlement proliferation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are sufficient provocation to have led to growing moral isolation from Europeans and others. This has been made clear by European state’s votes and abstentions in the UN General Assembly in voting for a Palestinian state and its observer status.
Clovis Maksoud is a former ambassador and permanent observer of the League of Arab States to the United Nations and its chief representative in the United States for more than 10 years.