Like a clear majority of Israelis, I have long believed that the Palestinians have "a right to be a free people on their land." It would serve not only Palestinian interests but Israeli interests as well. But there is just one problem, and it is contained in eight words the president expressed: "The Palestinians are not the easiest of partners."
The new Netanyahu-led government was created to serve its own political agenda, which is far removed from Israel's national interests. Indeed, in Israel the politician's personal interest comes first, the interest of the political party comes second, favoritism comes third, and the country can wait.
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?
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.