Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama and Israel


On January 5 John Bolton, the former unconfirmed U.S. envoy to the United Nations, advocated in The Washington Post a "three-state solution" to the Palestinian problem. This "solution" involved returning Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan because the Palestinian state has manifestly failed.

A perennial cutter of Gordian knots, Bolton usually misses the complexity of the turns — and the identity of the knot-tiers. In this case, he missed the rather obvious point that the Palestinian Authority's ailments are connected to the Israeli refusal to allow a viable and contiguous state to exist and its constant undermining of whatever party the Palestinian people elect, first Fatah and now Hamas. In fact, Bolton doesn't go far enough. Following his line of "reasoning," Israel should be returned to Britain as a mandate and then quickly turned over to the United States.

The Obama administration isn't likely to pick up Bolton's advice to dissolve the Palestinian state. In the current policy vacuum, however, Obama should be ready for a serious rethink of U.S. policy. And that rethink should begin with Israel. >>MORE

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