You want to know what Prime Minister Netanyahu is up to? Here it is, from the New York Times on June 27, 1992. The Likud prime minister then was Yitzhak Shamir who had just been defeated by Yitzhak Rabin.
“Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir was quoted in a published interview today as saying he wanted to drag out peace talks with the Palestinians for a decade while vastly increasing the number of Jewish settlers in Israeli-occupied territories.
“Had he held on to his office instead of being defeated this week in Israel’s national election, Mr. Shamir reportedly said, ‘ I would have conducted negotiations on autonomy for 10 years and in the meantime we would have reached half a million people” in the West Bank.’ “
Shamir, of course, is one of Netanyahu’s heroes and mentors. Sixteen years later, he has the same strategy Shamir did. He says he will negotiate but he will not commit himself to Palestinian statehood.
The only questions are (1) why would the Palestinians negotiate on that basis and (2) why would an American President press them to participate in such a charade.
The answers. They won’t. And he won’t.
I wish I shared his optimism.