Friday, May 15, 2009

More on Recognition

As usual, Obama gets it. Even when he was running for President, Barack Obama demonstrated he had a far more sophisticated grasp on what Jews care about vis-a-vis Israel and Zionism than the average American politician. I recently noted that a focus on recognition would be a wise adjustment on how we bring Israeli and Palestinian officials back to the negotiating table. And apparently, Obama agrees -- putting out regional Arab recognition for Israel on the table as the sweetener to get Bibi Netanyahu to publicly recognize a two-state solution.

Do I expect this to be a panacea? No, I don't -- there are rejectionists on both sides who will likely continue to make trouble. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that facially, Netanyahu and Hamas on the same page: neither recognizes the right of the opposing nation to exist. Hamas rejects Israel's right to exist; Netanayahu rejects Palestine's right to exist. Marginalizing that stance has to be priority one. There is no reason -- none -- to accept that as a tolerable position. Whatever barriers there are to peaceful coexistence between two states, it seems obvious to me that the refusal of certain parties to accept that as the end goal is rather high on the list.

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