WaPo Editorial faults President Obama and Secretary Clinton for insisting Israel to stop new construction in settlement areas. To be fair the editorial is not totally lopsided and asks Israeli PM to undertake certain changes in the settlement policy.
But it is time to ignore WaPo since it essentially wants to compromise the strong line of this administration. If not strategically, tactically the call of the editorial to Obama Administration is way too early. No negotiations have started and there is no way for Obama Administration to go into those giving up many of the core steps Israel needs to undertake. You do not start negotiations by pre-emptying and undermining your position in the beginning itself. That is what WaPo editorial is asking in nutshell. This just reminds the disastrous editorial calls by WaPo in supporting the Iraqi war. The paper seems to have a uncanny knack in purporting devastatingly failed policies in the name of so-called ‘centrism’. The advocated Israeli policy seems along the same line, destined for failure.
President Obama was right to say publically that America’s bond with Israeli is ‘unbreakable’. It is the historic duty of USA to defend Israel even if it costs many dollars and American blood. But that does not mean to allow Israeli to get away with a policy which is fundamentally detrimental to regional and global peace and which in the end is also a threat to its own existence. Settlement with no restrain is simply like putting a bomb under a nascent peace bridge.
The two must conditions on Israeli side for peace in Middle East are:
- Israel accepting the two state arrangement and
- Israel stopping the settlement construction.
If the argument of WaPo editorials is that – ‘but it is Israeli land so we should allow new construction’; it is a faulty, non-winning argument. Everyone knows the conflicting history of ‘land grabs’ on both sides. The prudent thing for Israel to do is wait until two state arrangement makes progress since in anyways it controls the land and which it will retain with itself in future too.
Further unlike what WaPo Editorial hints and others say openly, longevity and durability of the current Israeli coalition cannot be an overriding factor in deciding the Middle-East Policy. Just as America and World have to plow through the peace process despite the lack of a stable and united Palestinian partner, the fear of losing a stable Israeli partner cannot be an overriding concern for the truly lasting peace. Putting a durable and stable political leadership is the responsibility of Israeli people and they will need to do that if they want to solve this problem. Precisely this is the task which President Obama exhorted to people of Middle-East in his Cairo Speech – world can take ‘the horse’ to the water, but finally it is the horse which has to drink the water. Implicit to this, the world would not tolerate tantrums of the horse just because he chooses to remain thirsty. For too long, the crisis in Middle-East has cost the world stability and we have been waiting for both parties to grown up.