TEL AVIV -- Israelis look for simple, external answers: They're anti-Semites, they hate us, they want to kill us, they want to drive us into the sea. While I don't understand this utter inability to self-reflect, I have to admit, I understand where it comes from: fear. I feel it, too, as I move through Tel Aviv. I, too, eye the people I pass on the street, sizing them up. Forget about racial profiling -- I'm scared of everyone I don't know right now.
This conflict is not the only one in the Middle East, but a solution would send a strong signal of hope that solutions even for very intractable disputes are possible. Fortunately, both sides overwhelmingly agree on the key aspects of a viable solution: two states within the 1967 borders, with some mutual border adjustments.
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.