I was interviewed by Javier Mendez of Chile’s El Mecurio. Here are my answers to his questions.
Q. What are the expectations for the meeting between Obama and Netanyahu? What are their differences about the possibilities of Palestinian State and the peace in Middle East?
A. We expect Obama to press for Netanyahu to agree to resume negotiations in the pattern of those of the Clinton administration, an approach that, because it ignores or attempts to subvert the right of displaced Palestinians to return to their homes cannot succeed in establishing a lasting peace. However, getting Netanyahu to commit even to a two-state solution all will be an uphill battle for Obama. For the same reasons that the Likud was able to rebuff George Bush Sr.’s modest attempts to put the brakes on Israeli settlements, I mean the unconditional support of the U.S. Congress for Israel, Obama has no leverage to obtain even significant symbolic concessions from Netanyahu. There is also the fact that Avigdor Lieberman, whose support Netanyahu needs to stay in power, is oppose to resuming negotiations altogether. In any case Netanyahu’s insistence that Obama take a more belligerent stance on Iran as a precondition to pursuing peace with the Palestinians is a clear signal that he will not cooperate unless Obama demonstrates a clear acquiescence to the Likud agenda.
Q.Â Do your think that they will try to analyze or talk about security issues in Israel, Gaza, West Bank or will they try to driver forward the peace initiative called the Annapolis agreement?
A. I think that Obama will try to persuade Netanyahu that American commitment to Israel’s security is absolutely guaranteed, so that Israel may safely commit to a two-state solution and a settlement freeze, but Netanyahu will argue that Israel will be insecure unless Obama abandons any hope of a peaceful resolution to its differences with Iran.
Q. In your opinion, what could be the chances for peace in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine after the meeting between Obama and Netanyahu? Are there posibilities for a NetanyahuÂ´s goverment to resume peace negotiations with the Palestinia?
A. The chances for peace between Israel and the Palestinians emerging from Obama’s meeting with Netanyahu are very poor. Netanyahu has made it clear he will only consider negotiating about security and economic issues.
Q. What are the Israeli conditions for continuing the peace process?
A. The Netanyahu-Lieberman coalition makes belligerency with Iran, a one apartheid state solution, and abandonment of the Palestinian right of return conditions for continuing the peace process.
Q. Will Obama and Netanyahu have a hard-line with Iran and Syria?
A. I would not be surprised to see Obama attempt to appease Netanyahu by adopting a harder line rhetoric on Iran, but unless he is willing to back it up with actual military aggression, Netanyahu will not be satisfied. The Obama administration has already started talking tougher about Syria.
Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute