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A Precarious Position
The next few months promise to be difficult ones for Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu comes to Washington this week amid a torrent of unrest in his neighborhood. The infiltration of Palestinians along long-quiet borders on Sunday would seem to suggest that the "Arab Spring" has at last reached Israel, which until now has watched nervously but from a perch of relative calm. That Syria allowed such action along the Golan Heights was almost certainly an effort to divert attention from its own brutal efforts to quell the revolt against the Assad government.
President Mahmoud Abbas, meanwhile, in an opinion piece in The New York Times pleads for international recognition for a Palestinian state, through an evasive back channel -- the United Nations -- that will do nothing to advance peace. By seeking international sanction, the Palestinians are avoiding the hard but necessary work of resolving their differences directly with Israel.
In one fell swoop, Abbas distorts history, revives the contentious refugee issue, absolves the Palestinians from any responsibility for their plight and abandons all hope for negotiations.
What he neglects to mention is that the Palestinians could have had a state in 1948, but instead, the Arab nations waged war against Israel. Since then, the Palestinians have missed every opportunity to forge their destiny by rejecting multiple peace deals.
Though much of Netanyahu's strategy remains an enigma, he has said that he accepts the notion of two states living side by side. He hinted in a speech this week to the Knesset what he might give up in negotiations, including most of the West Bank. Still, he won't do it at the expense of Israeli security, which is increasingly fragile, given the Fatah-Hamas pact and a restless Palestinian population, influenced by the waves of uprisings across the region.
Netanyahu rightly stood firm against negotiating with a Palestinian government that includes Hamas, whose leader this week called once again for the end of the "Zionist enterprise."
It is against this backdrop that Netanyahu comes to town for meetings with President Barack Obama, an address to Congress and another one to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
The United States and all of Israel's supporters must stand firm against the increasing global pressure against Israel.
This week, a group of U.S. senators, including Bob Casey (D-Pa.) introduced a resolution opposing Palestinian efforts to seek unilateral recognition at the United Nations, and expressing firm belief that any Palestinian unity government must publicly and formally forswear terrorism; accept Israel's right to exist; and stand by all previous arrangements with Israel.
Anyone who seeks a peaceful two-state solution must stand firm: No financial support for a Palestinian Authority that includes Hamas, and no political support for Palestinian recognition by the United Nations.