The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Daniel Levy: US "irresponsibly indulgent" toward Israel

A great passage in this interview of Israeli-British former diplomat Daniel Levy, in America as Obstacle | Souciant:

We need to acknowledge that American domestic politics will not allow the US to lead on this issue in a way that is conducive to advancing a breakthrough. Most people would look at this as being patently obvious, this administration included. US leaders are sufficiently boxed in politically and lack maneuverability to carry the peace process forward. If that is the case, for anyone caring about Israel’s future and the Palestinians, it is worth considering what would get us out of the impasse, whether it is the UN or Quartet playing a more active role.

Now, when you read President Obama’s Libya speech, one might take from it that there would be a logic in the Americans seeing the Israel-Palestine conflict dealt with more by the United Nations than by the US. From the point of view of American strategic interests, one might also draw the conclusion that the US cannot politically carry this burden, that while this conflict is hugely consequential for the United States, it would be better for the US to be a little less in control of it. But that is a counterintuitive notion for any power, certainly for the United States. Leaving this to others gets to the very heart of what the traditional pro-Israel community defines as red lines, precisely because no other entity will treat Israel as favorably as America will. “Favorably,” to the extent of becoming irresponsibly indulgent.

The question for everyone is will a changing Middle East change the equation. Can the US allow such a defining issue as Israel-Palestine to continue to be so mismanaged with such unhelpful consequences to American interests?