Where will Palestine be?
The decision required from Netanyahu is clear: Accept the U.S. proposal, freeze settlement construction immediately, and determine the border on the basis of the new security understandings with the United States.
All good things must come to an end - or, as the Israeli military maxim has it, "Every Shabbat has a Saturday night."
Indeed, upon Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's return from his trip to the United States, where he celebrated the victory of his friends the Republicans in the midterm elections, he stepped back into real life.
After all, it is the Democratic Obama administration with which Netanyahu must speak and reach understandings.
Netanyahu has shown the senior ministers in the forum of seven a proposal he received from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for a three-month moratorium on settlement construction, in exchange for security and diplomatic assistance to Israel.
At the heart of the American proposal is the demand to demarcate the borders of the Palestinian state that Netanyahu has promised to see established.
This is the objective of the additional moratorium: to get Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas back to the negotiating table, and to discuss the border issue first.
Setting the border will bring order to the settlements issue and will make it clear where Israel is entitled to build and where it is not. From there, talks will move on to the other core issues.
So far, Netanyahu has evaded discussing the route of Israel's future border with the Palestinians.
He expects any map he presents to cause a rift in his coalition.
But in the absence of an answer to the question of where the Palestinian state will be established and what its borders will be, Netanyahu's statements about peace fade into insignificance and are rightly perceived as empty words.
Netanyahu is getting closer to the moment of decision, when he will be required to choose whether to move on to a two-state solution, as he promised, or to take refuge with political figures like Avigdor Lieberman, Eli Yishai and Daniel Hershkowitz. Will he continue to drag things out and come up with excuses while destroying ties with the Obama administration?
The decision required from Netanyahu is clear: Accept the U.S. proposal, freeze settlement construction immediately, and determine the border on the basis of the new security understandings with the United States - even if such a decision requires a different coalition, such as one that includes Kadima and in which opposition leader Tzipi Livni takes Lieberman's place.
Instead of being enticed by futile games in the U.S. political arena, Netanyahu must demonstrate leadership and say yes, loudly and clearly, to U.S. President Barack Obama. Any other decision he might make will damage Israel and undermine the slim chance that remains for an agreement with the Palestinians.
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