November 14, 2010

Israel gets paid to advance its own interests

Congratulations are owed to the Government of Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu got a $3 billion U.S. fighter jet deal, plus more, just for a three-month, non-renewable settlement freeze. Whether it works or not, the freeze is meant to advance Israel's long-term security under the assumption that peace with the Palestinians is both possible and useful to the State of Israel.

Actually, Israel gets already $3 billion a year in U.S. assistance anyway, because they gave up Sinai 30 years ago and made peace with Egypt. Netanyahu can declare victory here, and Israelis can continue without a serious peace process for as long as they don't think it's worth it (or until they believe it's real). Maybe if Israel had a credible and robust left wing, there would be something to disagree with - instead of an irrelevant bunch of has-beens (ie, exactly what most people assumed Likid would have been by now). Their biggest asset remains the visionary and eloquent President of Israel, Shimon Peres, who must be 90 years old. He's the oldest of the bunch, and the most creative by far.

When countries must be bribed into making peace, that's bad enough. When they must be bribed just to return to the negotiating table, one has to wonder if the stars are properly aligned for such diplomacy. The Obama administration deserves credit for trying, and for maintaining the one key ingredient for superpower peace diplomacy - the will to believe.

1 comment:

  1. The philosophy of diplomacy is to never give away something for nothing. In this case, Israel got a load of cash and sophisticated U.S. fighter jets. The U.S. gets to save face and increase its international prestige, as the peace talks can now continue. Both benefit in this deal, not to mention that Abbas can return to the peace table with what he wanted. Let’s just hope Abbas doesn’t squander the next 90 days, as he did with the 10 months preceding the negotiations.