Sunday, April 25, 2010

Why Martin Indyk is wrong

Yitzhak Klein
23 April '10

In a recent opinion piece in the International Herald Tribune, former ambassador Martin Indyk takes Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to task for supposedly resisting President Barack Obama’s attempts to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Resolving the conflict, argues Indyk, is an American strategic priority, vital to American interests. By refusing to accede to Obama’s demands, Netanyahu jeopardizes those interests and thus Israel’s standing as an American ally. Netanyahu has to make a choice between alienating “those ministers in his cabinet who oppose peacemaking” and alienating the United States.

Indyk’s argument is flawed. It is true that American-Israeli relations are under strain. It may or may not be true that resolving the conflict is material to other American interests in the region. What is not true is the assertion that what is at stake in the confrontation between Netanyahu and Obama is a resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and that the Netanyahu government “opposes peacemaking.”

If Netanyahu were to accede to all of Obama’s demands – from freezing Jewish construction in Jerusalem to changing his government – it would not bring peace closer and would probably make the prospects of peace dimmer than they are today. True, it would make the Obama administration temporarily popular with the monarchs and despots of the Arab world. But it would not help the US achieve that resolution of the conflict which, Indyk argues, is America’s interest and the motive for Obama’s current policy toward Israel. It is not the policy of the Netanyahu government that jeopardizes that interest.

The conflict exists because the two sides cannot agree on the terms on which to end it. It will remain an irritant within the Arab world, and to Arab-American relations, until the Palestinians agree that the conflict is at an end. This gives the Palestinians a veto over the achievement of American interests in the region as the Obama administration currently formulates them.

(Read full Op-Ed)

Please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.

No comments:

Post a Comment