Thursday, April 21, 2011

GOP Invitation to Netanyahu Puts Obama on Spot

Republican House Speaker John Boehner has invited Israeli PM Netanyahu to address Congress, where Bibi is expected to propose some version of a peace plan.  Notably, the invitation comes immediately after Hillary Clinton had announced that Obama was planning an important speech on the issue.  The NYT also says that her announcement  "electrified" (read: "panicked"?) Israeli officials.

Not to worry though.  Boehner and Eric Cantor have Bibi's back.  So, Bibi gets to put his marker down before an adoring Congress (and at the same time that AIPAC, Israel's most powerful US lobby, is having its annual convention in DC) before Obama can get a chance to enunciate what likely would be a peace plan asking more of Netanyahu than he wants to give.

The NYT also reports:
Two American officials, speaking on condition of anonymity out of diplomatic caution, said they thought that if Mr. Netanyahu intended to make a bold proposal for a peace deal with the Palestinians, he would do so before his own people in the Knesset.
It's obvious now - as if it wasn't before.  The Republican-led House of Representatives of the United States of America is hereby saying, straight up, that in the matter of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is looking for its marching orders from (and is poised to obey them as well; AIPAC's money will see to that) not the president of the United States, but the prime minister of Israel, which is (at least the last time I checked) a foreign nation, one of whose operatives was convicted of spying against the United States and still sits in federal prison with a life sentence (deservedly, in the eyes of the US security establishment).

If the Palestinian people are looking for a just settlement, they won't find it in the halls of the US Congress - and the US Congress will afford the US president no room to help devise one.  It's going to be up to the Quartet, and the United Nations General Assembly, and Israel's neighbors in the Middle East, and the international community at-large, and the efforts and good will of principled people everywhere, to compel the Israeli government to make the "painful concessions" it has consistently refused to make.

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