But what kind of pressure will the US really impose on Israel apart from a few stern words? The Arab world is moving, evolving into something far more inclusive and democratic and yet Israel is going in the opposite direction. The Daily Beast:
Something tells me that this time, the pressure will mount more on Bibi than Barack. His behavior these last 48 hours has verged on, if not been, petulant. A foreign leader (no less one of a state whose existence depends on the United States) isn’t supposed to talk like that to a president. Add to the bargain: Obama’s a stronger president now on foreign affairs than he was in 2009, partly because of the bin Laden coup and partly because the speech was generally well received across the American political spectrum. The criticisms of Obama on the borders statement have been entirely partisan, led by Republican presidential candidates. That has had the effect of cheapening the criticism of Obama and making it more dismissible: Do Americans, and Israelis and Palestinians, really care what Tim Pawlenty thinks about the situation? The Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman, never shy about criticizing the administration on these matters, came out Friday to The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent and judged the speech a defense of Israel: “The speech indicated to me that this administration has come a long way in better understanding and appreciating the difficulties facing both parties, but especially Israel in trying to make peace with the Palestinians.” This may be a sign that the usual cordon won’t hold around Bibi this time. Oh, he’ll receive a thunderous welcome from Congress Tuesday, mostly from Republicans who want to embarrass Obama by backing the prime minister. But the applause will only mask temporarily what everyone knows—that he is in total denial about the future.
Israel, of course, has legitimate security concerns, especially in light of the recent Fatah-Hamas entente. And there’s nothing, really, to prevent Netanyahu from running out the clock if that’s what he wants to do. But things have changed. Two years ago, politically speaking, time was on his side. Now it’s against him. Having thrown this tantrum, it seems unlikely that he can come back in two weeks, or two months, or a year, and say gee, the ’67 borders with swaps is actually a good idea after all. It seems like the peace process will have to wait for a new prime minister. And he may have hastened that day, too.