This Israeli fantasy of making peace with the Arabs without first making peace with the Palestinians has been around for decades. It is, in effect, a desire to turn the Arab Peace Initiative on its head. As is often the case, Netanyahu's clever, but disingenuous, ploys can't stand up in the face of reality.
Has a once venerated idealistic enterprise itself become the victim of extremism? Are Israel's enemies using it as a pawn in yet another messianic struggle that goes far beyond the questions of a two state solution or whether the country's borders should be returned to where they were before the Six Day War?
With an indefinite ceasefire now agreed upon, there is an urgent need for a new strategy that will be aimed at ending the Hamas stranglehold on Gaza, substantially increase the role of the Palestinian Authority there, and enhance the prospects for progress in Israeli-Palestinian relations. Here are eleven ways to develop that strategy.
Ron Reagan and Ron Christie discuss clashing portrayals of Ronald Reagan -- Perlstein's smart, shrewd charmer (The Invisible Bridge) and Cannon's under-informed raconteur (Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime). Consensus: he was a shrewd fabulist. And on the 40th anniversary of Nixon's resignation, both Rons lament the Watergate-ization of politics but disagree who's the better president -- RN or BO.
With or without an infusion of massive amounts of international aid, clearing away the mess of this war will take years. Streets can be cleaned, but the wounds, both physical and mental, will not soon heal, nor will the survivors easily erase the feelings of helplessness, despair and anger with which they have been left.
The decision of the Palestinian leadership to sign the Rome Protocols for the International Criminal Court will impress on all, including Israel, that decision making is independent and is aimed at addressing the interests of the Palestinian people. If this becomes truly a Palestinian policy, then this could be marked as the biggest success, despite the horrible results in Gaza, which cannot be ignored.
Contrary to what Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu believes, the main existential threat facing the country is not a nuclear-armed Iran. The real peril is to be found at home: the corrosive effect of the Palestinian problem on Israel's international standing. The devastation caused by Israel's periodic asymmetrical confrontations, combined with the continuing occupation of Palestinian lands and the ever-growing expansion of settlements, has fueled a growing campaign to undermine Israel's legitimacy.
A Greater Israel cannot be anything but an apartheid state, and exclusionary ethnic nationalism of this sort is not sustainable in the 21st century. Israel's Arab subjects will eventually demand equal rights, and as former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned back in 2007, once that happens, "the state of Israel is finished."