US President Barack Obama
Photo: AFP

US president must do more

Op-ed: Obama presented the truth about peace deal, but failed to offer carrots and sticks

Ever since he took up the post two years ago, President Barack Obama kept in his drawer a clear plan for a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. On Thursday, he finally uttered the simple truth right to our face: There is no other way to secure a peace deal. Israel must return what it took in 1967, and the Palestinians must recognize Israel’s existence.


The power of the speech lay in Obama’s choice of words: He spoke as one who believes that his words have meaning and that there is justice out there.


On Thursday, Obama presented his vision for “the world as it should be.” He made it clear, especially to Netanyahu, that in such world there is no room for tyrants on the one hand but also to an ongoing occupation on the other hand.


Obama offered Netanyahu a thick hint- “Israel too must act boldly to advance a lasting peace” – thereby revealing the president’s dissatisfaction with the Israeli prime minister’s conduct, hours before their meeting at the Oval Office.


Obama the responsible adult

Obama, despite being younger than both Netanyahu and Abbas, conducted himself like the responsible adult the other night: He signaled to all parties what the required solution is, and outlined the solution once the sides agree to the formula comprising “territory and recognition” – Israel will agree to the principle of marking the borders, and the Palestinians will agree to recognize that the Israel is the state of the Jewish people.


The issues of Jerusalem and refugees will be left for a later stage.


However, after hurling the truth in everyone’s face, the president disappointed us: He spoke like a commentator, rather than as the leader of a superpower. He did not impose a timetable, he did not offer carrots, and he did not threaten with sticks. What was missing was the guiding hand of a superpower that would set the record straight and inform each party what is expected of it, and when.


In order to realize the two-state vision, Obama needs to hold up a whip, and make the price of rejectionism clear to both sides.



פרסום ראשון: 05.20.11, 15:27
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