I don’t see any reason to be optimistic about a possible revival of serious peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. US special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell is busy trying to arrange a meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to be held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York next week. But, what happened to the ‘Quartet’ – made up of the US, Russia, the EU and the UN – which was supposed to be an active peace broker?
Imitation may be the greatest form of flattery, but flattery currently is not an attribute of the Netanyahu-Obama relationship.
Do you remember last winter, when Netanyahu imitated Obama’s campaign strategy?
The imitation did not end with the Netanyahu campaign’s copying of the color and design of Obama’s website. The same way the Obama campaign linked Republican presidential candidate John McCain to then president George W Bush, the Netanyahu campaign sought to portray Tzipi Livni as the status quo candidate while portraying Netanyahu as the candidate of change. Last November, Ron Dermer, one of Mr Netanyahu’s top campaign advisers, went as far as to state that “Netanyahu is the real candidate of change for Israel.”
But while Obama actually sought to break with his predecessor’s foreign policy, Netanyahu has so far not given a new direction to Israeli foreign policy.
Obama may have served as a role model of how to conduct a successful election campaign, but that was pretty much it. Netanyahu merely copied the shell of “Obamaism,” but certainly not its content.