As Secretary of State John Kerry labors to launch a new Israel-Palestinian peace initiative, it is legitimate to ask how firmly the government of Israel still believes in a two-state solution.
Since Israelis and Palestinians live interspersed they are already compelled to cooperate on areas of mutual responsibility such as border security, migration, right-of-return, dual-citizenship, public services, trade and employment.
President Obama should stick to his red line policy toward Syria and avoid advancing a red line policy toward Iran that will tie his hands. That may frustrate his domestic critics, but it makes America's adversaries nervous. And this is exactly where we should want our country's foreign policy to be.
Israeli and Palestinian leaders have fallen victim to their own uncompromising public narratives. To facilitate the terms of an agreement, they need powerful and relentless pressure to provide them with political cover, which only the U.S. can exert.
If Netanyahu seizes the moment to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians, thanks to the initiative put forward by the Qataris and the Arab League, there is a chance that after generations of bitter conflict, Israelis will finally live in peace and security.
By attacking Syrian military targets, Israel has finally (if inadvertently) taken the conflict in the region to where it belongs -- to the doorstep of Assad's corrupt and bloody regime.
One way forward is to look again at what President Obama said in his recent speech in Jerusalem where he committed to support Israel while challenging Israelis to recognize and deal with Palestinian need for justice.
The clamor among the hawkish segment of Washington lawmakers to get the United States involved militarily in Syria gets louder by the day.
The majority of Israelis and Palestinians want to see a two-state solution between their two peoples. And with the United States energized to lead, now is the time for Americans to support John Kerry's fresh approach.
As usual, it seems, public discourse about the Palestinian situation tends to be much more vivid and vigorous in Israel itself than it ever seems allowed to become in the United States.
The good news is that Netanyahu has made everything so clear. He has no interest in peace, negotiations, any kind of territorial withdrawal or even freezing settlements. The only question left is what the Obama administration will do in response.
It is clear that if the Israelis and the Palestinians hold fast to their positions, it will be nearly impossible to allay distrust, leading to a continuing deadlock because distrust cannot be negotiated by simply agreeing to establish a new trusting relationship.
If Obama's observations in his Jerusalem speech are correct, then not only the Israeli public needs to heed his injunction "to see the world through their [Palestinian] eyes." U.S. policymakers need to do the same. This is especially important as Secretary of State John Kerry visits the region in a renewed effort at peacemaking.
The many Palestinians who criticized President Obama for showering the Israelis with lavish praise and for his unfettered commitment to Israel's security seem to miss the central point that he wanted to convey and expected to achieve.
This is the essence of persuasion. Obama's ability to project American hard power in the region might be fading, but that's not the case with American soft power.
The fact that the president linked Israel's ultimate national security to the establishment of a Palestinian state is not going to move Netanyahu to change course. He is fixated on grabbing more Palestinian land.