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Steve Clemons

Steve Clemons

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Tsunami at Israel's Edge

Posted: 04/28/11 08:02 AM ET

tsunami3.jpgBehind the scenes, Fatah and Hamas have been working and talking for years about terms of reconciliation. But their efforts were stymied by both their own suspicions and demands of each other -- but also by Omar Suleiman who was the anointed Egyptian peacemaker but who worked behind the scenes with the US to make sure that both sides never got to "yes" at the same time.

Now, Egypt is out of the game of working on one hand to appear supportive of a Palestinian unity government while on the other hand sabotaging it on behalf of the United States, and indirectly Israel.

I've argued for some years that Israel's security arrangements in the region were a lot like a New Orleans levee -- they were working for the time being, but some day a tsunami would come and wash out parts of Israel's protection. Israel needed to see that its security and long term interests lay in working hard to revision and restructure its relationships in the region -- and the best vehicle for that was something along the lines of the Arab Peace deal offered by Saudi King Abdullah.

Now, Fatah and Hamas are reconciling. America and some other nations will no doubt threaten to withhold aid and support -- making themselves less relevant to the decisions made by Palestinian leaders but also creating some pressure for them.

But this is not an age where Europe and the US are calling all the shots any longer. In this case, the boutique rich nations of the GCC, Brazil, Turkey, Russia, and China, even India -- may emerge as the new lifeline of financial and political support for a reorganized and somewhat repurposed Palestine.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the one person in Israel who could have really sold a real deal on a two state solution to his people. But he seems to have decided against this route -- and now we are seeing the political marketplace reaction to his and his government's intransigence and their lack of vision about new long term political and security relationships in Israel's neighborhood.

The tsunami that Israel will need to deal with may be here -- and it's vital that Netanyahu and others recalculate their game plan while this wave of change is sweeping through the region.

-- Steve Clemons publishes the popular political blog, The Washington Note. Clemons can be followed on Twitter @SCClemons

 

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