Dan Diker, the foreign policy analyst at the neo-conservative Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, outlines his perspective on the upcoming meeting between Barack Obama and Benyamin Netanyahu:
One of the difficult differences between Netanyahu and Obama concerns their fundamentally different views over the linkage of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process to the containment of Iran’s nuclear charged race to destroy Israel and achieve regional dominance. Netanyahu rejects linking the Palestinian issue to Iran. His view is that Iran is a nuclear existential threat to Israel and Arab states via terror proxies and must be stopped now at all costs. Period. The Palestinian conflict predated Iran’s ascension and has not been resolved over the past 61 years; it will likely continue to be a major problem even after the Iranian regime is contained or neutralized.
Obama and his advisors simply don’t see it that way. They are convinced that making great strides towards establishing a Palestinian state will help coalesce the Arab world against Iran. Arab leaders have been whispering in Obama’s ear since his first day in office that Iran is undermining Arab regimes by exploiting the Palestinian issue via Hezbollah and Hamas to inflame the Arab street. This is a silly argument. Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and other Islamist servant groups are ideologically and religiously motivated, they are not driven by Palestinian or other grievances. Besides, Iranian-backed Hamas has been subverting the US and Israeli backed Palestinian Authority first in Gaza and now in the West Bank; it will never allow a US-backed Palestinian state to arise.
Netanyahu and Obama can find a way to square the circle on this issue. I understand from a trusted friend who attended a small closed door dinner with Rahm Emanuel at last Week’s AIPAC conference that Obama’s close confidant was misquoted on the Palestinian-Iran linkage issue. The source said Emanuel specifically did not make Israeli Palestinian peace progress a precondition of US-Israel cooperation on Iran but merely suggested that it would make coalition-building far easier.
I expect the storm clouds to pass and to see at least partly sunny diplomatic weather in Washington next week.
The Zionist message? Don’t even think of progressing any movement on peace with the Palestinians until Iran is bombed to smithereens.
One can only despair over this.