President Obama wants Israel to stop building settlements on the occupied West Bank and work towards the establishment of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state (and about time). But if Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, agrees to this, his government will likely collapse as the far-right parties will withdraw their support.
But if Netanyahu does not agree, America will steadily turn up the pressure, the relationship will crack and the Israeli public will fear the loss of their most important ally. So Netanyahu’s government will collapse and his coalition fall apart.
But Obama has no choice for he has now placed his credibility over settlements on line in the most public way possible.
So, with Netanyahu out of the way, the thinking goes, Israelis will see the light and elect a new, more sympathetic government, that will stop the settlements and make peace, and, finally, all will be sweetness and light in the Holy Land.
Either way, Washington wins and gets rid of Netanyahu, who’s much vaunted American contacts and supposed understanding of the American mentality have suddenly proved worse than useless.
If true, it’s all deliciously ironic, considering that Obama made a startling reference to the US role in toppling the democratically elected Mossadegh government of Iran in 1953. And look what that led to….