Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before delivering a speech at Bar-Ilan University near Tel Aviv, June 14, 2009. He called for creation of a limited Palestinian state for the first time.
"Bibi Answers Obama"
Op-Ed, Human Events
June 16, 2009
Author: Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security
"If ever there was a leader caught between a rock and a hard place, it is Israel's Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu, who recently regained the premiership after a long and frustrating battle to reverse his ignominious defeat ten years ago. Only a burning lust for power, combined with a sincere belief in his ability to lead Israel through tumultuous times, sustained him. As in his previous tenure, however, he once again has the "misfortune" of assuming office at a time when a popular, left-leaning Democrat is president — in this case, one viewed by many with almost messianic adoration.
In his recent speech to the Muslim world, Obama set a new course for U.S. policy in the region and in so doing challenged Netanyahu to join him in the effort, or risk American ire. Poor Bibi. During his first two months, he caused gratuitous tension with Obama by refusing to explicitly endorse a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict and thereby convinced many that Israel, rather than the Palestinians, is the obstacle. Bibi knows that he cannot afford confrontation and that Israel must align itself with any administration...."
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