In the list of demands posed by Barack Obama to Benjamin Netanyahu for advancing the peace process, a non-substantive one should raise concern. The U.S. administration demanded written Israeli commitments. Thus the lack of trust in the Israeli prime minister has reached a new low. The U.S. administration has been burned all too often by Israel's "wink and fudge it" policy, and believes that if the spoken word has no meaning, perhaps the written word will have greater validity.
Experienced Israelis and Americans need not search the archives to find documents and agreements that the Israeli government signed but in the end became no more valuable than wrapping paper. The problem is not in the formulation of documents but in the adoption of positions; in other words, in the unbridgeable gap between the right-wing elements in the government like Avigdor Lieberman, Eli Yishai, Moshe Ya'alon and Netanyahu himself, and the concept of "the peace process." In the unbridgeable gap between those supporters of the construction fait accompli who have not given up on the idea of the Greater Land of Israel, and those who truly believe in a two-state solution.
It may be that Netanyahu's failed visit to Washington has made it clear to him that what is landing on his head is not exactly rain, but as long as he believes that the political composition of his coalition will save him from a decision, it seems he would prefer to wipe his forehead and continue maneuvering.
Once again, this is the Labor Party's moment. That same yellowing fig leaf that has granted the prime minister, during his first year in power, an effective cover for his follies and the madness of his partners on the right must now produce a single conclusion: This partnership cannot continue because the party is becoming a partner to the endangering of Israel's security. Ehud Barak and his partners must cease playing the role of Netanyahu's agents. They must stop being dragged after him like some garnish to a policy that is fraught with danger. Israel is already deep in the abyss and only a genuine threat to the government's integrity may somehow rescue it.
Labor must make it clear to Netanyahu that there is no third way. The government must adopt the American demands or risk breaking up. It is not a question of prestige and national pride, but of existence.
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