The recent Israel invasion of Gaza and continued rocket attacks have played into the hand of Benjamin Netanyahu, the ultra nationalist leader who may well become head of Israel and move that nation in the direction of no compromise. The election of Barack Obama indicates there might be a shift in American policy of supporting Israel regardless of what it does or says, and the possible entry of Khatami into the race for president of Iran raises hopes for more flexibility in the region. The end result could be the replacement of an ultra hard liner in Iran while an ultra hardliner takes power in Israel and a new American leadership seeks to attain flexibility. Obama would be more comfortable with Khatami but not as comfortable with Netanyahu.
The old mess could be replaced by a new mess only this time Israel might be the nation on the outside which will lose complete support from the United States. From the American self interest perspective, the Arab League proposal of recognizing Israel in exchange for return to the 1967 borders is an excellent solution even though it will anger right wing Israeli fundamentalists who do not wish to surrender their homes on the West Bank whose construction was an illegal act. Is it time for new fun and games in the Middle East?