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To correct long-standing injustice

Apr 02,2015 - Last updated at Apr 02,2015

The chances for Palestinian-Israeli peace are utterly grim, if not entirely impossible.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, backed by enough radicals and racists in Israel to have him re-elected for a fourth term, openly declared what he believes but had hid all along: that he is against the creation of a Palestinian state.

This came as no surprise to peace advocates in the region and abroad, for, Netanyahu’s lip service to peace has never been taken seriously by any informed observer.

If one does not believe in peace, one cannot work for peace. This is the bottom line.

Therefore, no good can come from either Netanyahu or the extremists and racists who back him in Israel.

Can some good come from the Americans?

There is a small possibility, but there is also a big question mark here.

The “small possibility” stems from some belief that the Obama administration might take the lead and pressure Netanyahu to end occupation and allow the Palestinians to have their state.

The Obama administration needs to take a historic stand that can be a game changer.

Will it do so? Will it do what is only fair and right for the sake of not only the Palestinians, but also of the Israelis and regional and world peace?

There are grounds for some hope, though one realises that the US has always rejected exercising pressure on Israel.

The Obama administration, as others before it, believes in the two-state solution and is still committed to it.

At the same time, it demonstrated throughout its handling of the Iranian nuclear issue that it can say no to Netanyahu, who wanted military confrontation with Iran, not diplomatic engagement.

Such stance has been highly appreciated by many in our region who believe that the best way to bring about peace and stability is through dialogue and diplomacy, not through militarism and confrontation.

Can the Obama administration assert itself with respect to Palestinian-Israeli peace the way it asserted itself in the Iranian nuclear issue?

There is no reason for it not to, especially since there is strong European backing for the creation of a Palestinian state and there are many in Israel and America who have had enough of Netanyahu’s games.

The Obama administration has, in fact, hinted that it might stop vetoing UN resolutions that aim to rectify the historic injustice done to the Palestinians.

The only stumbling block is the Republicans who are doing their utmost to subvert any initiative taken by the Obama administration and who are playing into the hands of Netanyahu as if he — and not Obama — were their president.

But the Obama administration has disregarded them with respect to Iran and Syria, and it can do the same regarding the Palestine question.

The days ahead will reveal whether the Obama administration can take such a bold, long-overdue step, especially when a deal is reached with Iran.

Such a step is needed for two main reasons. 

The first and foremost is correcting the injustice that many American administrations, including Obama’s, committed over the years by vetoing UN resolutions that would have made genuine peace in the Middle East a reality a long time ago.

The second, crucial for the image of America which has been greatly harmed by the Republican shameful alliance with Netanyahu, is to show people in our region, especially, who is boss when it comes to the Israeli prime minister or the American president.

This latter point is no light matter.

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