What Obama Needs To Do On Israel
Joe Klein's latest column is on Gaza and the Middle East. He follows up here:
The most frequent request, especially from the Palestinian side, is for the President to lay out a proposed two-state plan. One Israeli expert said that this doesn't have to be the ultimate deal--state to state issues (like the right of return, or reparations, for some Palestinian refugees) can be worked out between the Israelis and Palestinians--but Obama's proposal should resemble Bill Clinton's parameters laid out in December 2000, including suggestions on borders, security and sovereignty.
While Israel would seem to have the whip hand in any negotiation strategy--it controls the Palestinian lands, Netanyahu has practically no domestic opposition, the Palestinians remain divided between Fatah and Hamas--the Israelis I spoke with think that some sort of accomodation with the Palestinians has to come soon. "Next year, 50% of all first-graders in Israel will be either Arabs or Othodox Jews," a member of the centrist Kadima Party told me. "We have a serious demographic problem."