Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was received in Washington this week with the honors reserved for an especially embarrassing relative. The kind of relative you were forced to meet – after all, he’s part of the family and mom really asked you to do it – but you made sure to meet him in a place nobody knows, so no one will see you.
The White House has not seen such secretive visit since the summit meetings between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Obama, on his part, spared no effort in making clear that he would have preferred a face-to-face meeting with suspected murderer Damian Carlik, who killed a family of six south of Tel Aviv, than with Israel’s prime minister.
However, it seems that something bigger is going on around here. As hinted this week by journalist Thomas Friedman, the Americans are closer than ever to reaching the understanding that they would sleep well at night even without the Mideastern food poisoning, and that they have better things to do in life than playing the role of babysitter for us and the Palestinians (two children that no amount of Ritalin is enough for.)
One can understand them, and also our own abandonment anxiety. The departure of the Americans, which would come on top of our already unsteady international status, would reinforce our position as a global pariah that any civilized person would better stay away from and push us even deeper into our own bunker. Not to mention the economic implications of the affair gone awry with our American sugar daddy.
Taking responsibility for our actions
And as to the migraine known as “the peace process” around here, detachment from the responsible adult in America may constitute a fresh change. After years where we got used to an international nanny that changed our diaper every time things got too smelly, the time has come for us and our lovely neighbors to take responsibility for our actions.
For how many more years can we expect others to resolve our problems for us? Until what age will we continue to go on dates accompanied by our parents?
In-depth thinking about the reality of a Middle East without a foreign mediator that will force solutions upon us, and the emergence of a space where we and our Arab neighbors manage things on our own and address the difficulties and disputes our way, raises a specter of opportunities and possible scenarios – all of which can be summed up with two words: Mommy, help!
However, this time around, as opposed to the past, even if we call for mom, she won’t be coming.