Guest Post by Tom Kutsch: Five Minutes on Netanyahu’s Visit to Washington


Tom Kutsch is a Program Associate at the New America Foundation/Middle East Task Force.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington on Monday represents the Obama administration’s first opportunity to implement a new American strategy for achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace.
President Obama and many in his administration have already made it clear that its goal is to end the conflict with a peace agreement – not only between Israel and a new independent Palestine – but also with all 22 Arab states (and perhaps every Muslim state as well).
As Netanyahu’s visit approaches (along with the visits of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak), New America Foundation/Middle East Task Force Co-Directors Daniel Levy and Amjad Atallah sat down to discuss some ways in which American policy might realize its stated ambition.
Some points they suggested to keep in mind:

1. Do not expect a show-down between Obama and Netanyahu – but do look for the Obama administration to change its tone and reposition itself among the parties.
2. The U.S. should escape the Annapolis logic of bilateral negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians alone in favor of direct, robust American involvement. The US must be a leader in this process – not a mere facilitator.
3. Refrain from repackaging endless ‘peace processing’ and going after non-implementable solutions (an example of which is the futile attempt to condition de-occupation on Palestinian capacity and institution building).

These suggestions echoed a broader point that Jonathan Freedland made in a column in Tuesday’s Guardian:

This conflict will not be solved by simply implementing the old Bush approach with more skill. Obama mustn’t be Obama on the outside and Bush on the inside. The approach itself has to change and change radically.

As Atallah and Levy note above, the alternative to initiating a U-turn vis a vis American efforts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is to become trapped in a policy cul-de-sac.
— Tom Kutsch


9 comments on “Guest Post by Tom Kutsch: Five Minutes on Netanyahu’s Visit to Washington

  1. downtown says:

    Looks like our technologically challenged whores in Congress don’t even bother to write their own letters anymore. Scroll down and check out the second story.


  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    The U.S. to Raise Military Aid to Israel
    Despite expectations that the Obama administration will pressure Israel to accept a two-state solution and implement practical measures, the U.S. administration has sent signals that aid to Israel will, in fact, be raised. At the same time, the budget also imposes harsh conditions on the Palestinian Authority in order to receive aid.
    Obama courts Israel with pact against Tehran
    PRESIDENT Barack Obama hopes to tempt Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli leader, into making concessions to the Palestinians by holding out the prospect of a “grand alliance” of moderate Arab states against a nuclear Iran.
    “Change” you can shove where the sun don’t shine.


  3. hidflect says:

    If Obama totally folds on this in favour of that “lonely, little beleaguered beacon of Democracy” like everything else he’s folded on then it’ll be the final deciding factor on my going totally against him. But okay, I hear you say “Who gives a rat’s ass about my opinion?” I hear you, I hear you. It’s not worth much; only that my mindset is pretty much “everyman”. If he turns me off finally then there’ll be millions in front or not far behind me.


  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gads, what a tepid advocation of “change”.
    We need to tell these murderous bastards that they will change their ways, or we will stop giving them blood money.
    And BTW, quite telling how this Hillary crone ignored Tristan Anderson while pulling out all the stops for Saberi. Nice, knowing our SOS will stand idly by as Israel guns down American citizens engaged in peaceful protest.


  5. JohnH says:

    Why does Tom Kutsch refer to Mahmoud Abbas as President Mahmoud Abbas? In fact, Abbas is ex-President. His term ended months ago…
    According to Kutsch’s logic, maybe President Bush and VP Cheney should be the ones orchestrating the US-Palestinian relationship. Makes as much sense.


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