The announcement this week of a new Palestinian unity government was greeted with cautious optimism by most of the world, outside of Israel. In the United States, however, it set off political rumblings that threaten to swell into a storm.
Despite renewed calls in Congress for increasing pressure on Iran, support for a U.S. attack against the Islamic Republic has declined markedly over the past year, according to the latest in an annual series of polls carried out by the American Jewish Committee (AJC).
Despite indications that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is committing a substantial amount of time and effort to revive the long-stalled Israel-Palestinian “peace process", a growing number of experts believe a two-state solution is no longer viable and the lack of a realistic discussion of the issue in the United States is leaving the country without an alternative policy.
“He who believes doesn’t fear”…re-elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hums a popular tune played with great intensity by his supporters. Indeed, faith is what Netanyahu badly needs right now as people showed just how little faith they have in him. “We’ll have coalition problems,” confides a Likud lawmaker.
As expected, Benjamin Netanyahu has been ensured another term in office. Against all expectations, he could have been defeated. Now, he faces uncertainty over the kind of governing coalition he will lead and thus the kind of policies he will carry out. And he faces a lingering question: can any prospective coalition last?
A meeting between Iran and world powers is tentatively set for the month-end in Istanbul, and might constitute a litmus test over a compromise regarding Iran’s uranium enrichment programme. Strangely enough, in Israel, Iran’s nuclear quest is now off the public radar.
“We feel like we finally live a normal life in a normal country,” marvelled a popular radio host. Normalcy – this rare appreciation by Israelis of the privilege to indulge in small talk about the stormy weather that’s wreaked the whole region – is so abnormal here.