When both Barack Obama and James Baker take the same position on a critical foreign policy and national security issue, you know things have changed. When the bald call for automatic support for an Israeli government that has betrayed its own principles and people, and its agreements with the United States, finally turns away former supporters, you know things have changed.
Should Israel and Hamas achieve their stated objectives, the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians, as a whole, will take a dramatically different turn, change the nature of the conflict, and substantially improve the prospect for peace. The question is: Will their political circumstances and the reality they face lead to such an outcome?
Rather than viewing the conflict merely between Jews and Arabs, it is important to note that the major disagreement here is between Palestinians and Israelis who support the separation of the area into two states and those Arabs and Israelis who reject the partition of Palestine in favor of a one-state solution.
In his recent meeting with Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he was "committed to the vision of peace for two states for two peoples." That sounds nice. But if he'd been pressed, Netanyahu might have admitted that the two states he had in mind were Israel and the U.S., not Israel and Palestine.