Recognizing that the status quo is unsustainable, President Obama sought last week to revive the long-stalled Middle East peace process. He reiterated his case yesterday at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference, saying "[W]e can't afford to wait another decade, or another two decades, or another three decades to achieve peace. The world is moving too fast." Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to speak to the AIPAC conference today as well as to address a joint session of Congress tomorrow. While it will be a long and difficult process, going forward experts agree that lasting peace is in the interest of both U.S. and Israeli security.
Yesterday, two polls found that an increasing majority of Americans feel confident in the Obama administration's ability to keep America safe from terrorism. This trend has developed in the wake of the failed attack by the underwear bomber, as the Administration projected a measured, responsible and determined approach to dealing with the issue, rather than resorting to hysterics.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives in Washington today to meet with President Obama. There has been much talk of tension and conflict in the run-up to this meeting. President Obama, like Presidents Bush and Clinton before him, has argued forcefully that the only way to create a lasting peace is through the formation of an independent Palestinian state. After witnessing the failure of the Bush administration’s isolation and bluster approach to stem Iran’s nuclear development, as well as the extremely dangerous repercussions military action would have on our troops in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan, the Obama administration has sought a new course based on serious diplomatic engagement.
The Obama administration’s announcement that it will be inviting Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Mubarak and President Abbas to separate talks at the White House is the latest sign that Obama has put the Middle East peace process high on his agenda. This path will not be easy. The integrated Middle East strategy advocated by President Obama is the one that best serves American interests.
The mixed results of yesterday’s Israeli elections are likely to throw the country into political chaos for the next few weeks. Whether the final result is a national unity government led by Livni or a right wing government led by Netanyahu, the new political situation will likely make any peace efforts more difficult.