Yet Mr. Netanyahu doesn’t want to get pushed too fast toward a peace process that could disrupt his fragile governing coalition. So he has refused to do two things Mr. Obama would have liked. He won’t say he favors a “two-state solution” to the Palestinian problem, which would imply accepting a Palestinian state with full powers, including power to raise an army. And he won’t agree to an outright settlement freeze; he said Sunday that he would allow existing settlements to expand. A standoff there.
And he really doesn’t like the idea of linking the Palestinian question to Iran’s nuclear program. The latter is vastly more pressing to Mr. Netanyahu, and he thinks moderate Arab leaders see a nuclear Iran as such a strategic threat that their cooperation won’t depend on diplomacy with the Palestinians.
Mr. Netanyahu is more afraid that Mr. Obama’s commitment to talking with Iran’s leaders will simply provide them time and cover to complete their nuclear program. So he doesn’t want diplomacy to drag on. And on that, Mr. Obama gave ground last week, saying he wants progress in talks with Iran by year’s end. Advantage, Mr. Netanyahu.
The chess match continues.
Tags: iran, nuclear program, settlement freeze