Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hillary Clinton, the West Bank, and Netanyahu

I cannot recommend highly enough Roger Cohen's latest (to appear tomorrow) on Hillary Clinton's visit to the West Bank, her evident disgust with the humiliation she saw there, and her evident transformation from an Israel-can-do-no-wrong perspective as US senator to a more balanced view as Sec of State. (And in re that humiliation of West Bank Palestinians, I heartily recommend the recent piece by Michael Hare in the New York Review of Books. It's beautifully and engagingly written, and enlists some important Israeli voices in the cause - most notably, David Grossman. And while you're there, check out the new piece by Avishai Margalit as well, on civilians vs. combatants.) She will not be bullied by Mr. Netanyahu - nor will Mr. Obama, I feel, although Netanyahu's upcoming May visit to DC will tell us a lot more about that. It will be very interesting to see how Netanyahu is received by any Congressional delegations, and the extent to which Democrats (and "former" Democrats - think Joe Lieberman) lean more toward his hard line rather than Obama's insistence on two states.

And it's also critical - as Cohen spells out - that Obama and Clinton not get sucked into the kind of Palestinian-state-for-attack-on-Iran deal that Netanyahu seems to be pushing. You can expect many of those Congressman - and bundles of AIPAC money - to be pushing Obama in that direction. But Cohen has it right. The need now is to bring Iran into the tent (which is indeed someplace where many Iranians want to be, regardless of the rhetoric of Mr. Ahmadinejad).

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