By Sal Bommarito
According to a New York Times article, there is a strong possibility that a new agreement to provide $38 billion of military aid to Israel is the first step by President Obama to push for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Even though the administration indicated that there were no strings attached to the aid package, Prime Minister Netanyahu is not convinced. Obama has had a contentious relationship with the PM relating to the Iran nuclear deal, which is going south according to some accounts, and the continuation of Israeli settlements.
Mr. Obama said, “As I have emphasized previously, the only way for Israel to endure and thrive as a Jewish and democratic state is through the realization of an independent and viable Palestine.”
Some believe that Obama is searching for legacy opportunities as his tenure comes to a close. A last minute speech to the United Nations about an Israeli-Palestinian deal could be in the cards.
But let’s consider whether Obama, in a few short months, could possibly persuade Israel and Palestine to make peace.
First of all several presidents during the past 50 years have tried and failed to settle the dispute. The barriers include not only whether both parties can support a two-state agreement (with all its conditions), but also whether the opposing sides trust one another enough to negotiate in good faith.
Israel has numerous security issues, and Palestinians have to overcome a half-century of domination by the Jewish State. Completion of such a deal would be monumental.
But the fact that Obama wants to be an arbiter in the process is laughable. As president he has conflicted more often with Israel than any of his predecessors. The wounds created by the U.S. decision to endorse the production of nuclear weapons by Iran will never heal. Netanyahu said Obama’s decision to move forward created an existential threat to his country. This episode alone disqualifies Obama as an intermediary now and after he leaves office from Israel’s perspective.
In addition, why would Palestine accept Obama’s involvement as a middleman in negotiations? After all he just agreed to give Palestine’s mortal enemy $38 billion of military equipment that will likely be used against Palestine over the next decade
The current situation and future events relating to the Middle East were damaged by American foreign policies during the last eight years. No one is going to allow Obama to play a diplomatic role in Palestine or any other country in the region.