Stop, Go In Middle East Peace

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told visiting Spanish Foreign Minister Moratinos that if he is compelled to continue a freeze on West Bank settlement past September 26 it will most likely result in the downfall of his coalition government since some of its members are adamant about ending the freeze. Moratinos told the Israel leader he had talked with President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and he was determined not to engage in negotiations unless there is a freeze on settlements. He is under pressure from the Arab League to stand firm, and Abbas fears if he talks and settlement construction resumes, he will most probably lose support of the average Palestinian. In other words, Hamas which is feared and disliked by Israel will gain power among Palestinians if the freeze ends. End the freeze and Abbas is weakened, continue the freeze on settlements and Netanyahu is weakened. Talk about a dilemma!

There is an old song which goes, “did you ever get the feeling you wanted to go, stop, go, stop.” The song typifies issues in the Middle East. Of course, one solution would be for Netanyahu to end his coalition with right wing extremists and ask Tzipi Livni to join his government. That would ensure a government that is committed to an independent Palestine and working out a compromise on West Bank settlements.