Thursday, October 7, 2010

Both Netanyahu and Abbas "playing" Obama?

Pretty sharp analysis by Victor Kotsev in Asia Times, in re the peace process du jour.  Kotsev notes how the two contending sides have been supporting each other's tricks on Obama's efforts:
Perhaps, in fact, both leaders have sensed Obama's weakness: the US administration publicly set peace in the Middle East as one of its top priorities and consequently implicitly declared its willingness to pay a high price for its achievement. By continuously playing brinkmanship, Netanyahu and Abbas are not only trying to squeeze more out of each other, but also are collectively squeezing the Americans.

It could also be argued that such a strategy constitutes a desperate attempt from both sides to keep America's attention (and aid) focused on the region. It is no secret that Obama wants a breakthrough on the Middle Eastern peace front to a large extent in order to concentrate more efficiently on other policy issues. An American shift away from the Levant is neither in Israeli nor in Palestinian interest, and one way to interpret the actions of both sides is as a pre-emption of such a development. Regardless whether this interpretation is correct, both Israelis and Palestinians are giving Obama a harder time than he likely ever anticipated.

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