The Israeli Right has done it. They called Obama's bluff. Successive US administrations have called for a two state solution and the end to Israeli settlements on the West Bank, but thanks to the all powerful Israel lobby in Washington, the US never put much pressure on Israel, in the way it did with Jordan, Egypt, and the Palestinians. Israeli intransigence never brought more than a few sharp words from the US while American money and arms flowed to Israel uninterrupted.
Obama promised to be different. He has vowed to take the tough steps necessary to bring about the two state settle so often talked about. Both he and Secretary of State Clinton have said the settlements must stop. Because of his background and message of hope and change, Obama has given hope to people of the Muslim and Arab worlds that things will be different.
Recently, senior members of the government in Israel have said the settlements will continue, thumbing their nose at the United States, confident that the Israel Lobby will prevent America from putting pressure on Israel. The ball is now in Obama's court. Every President since Carter has spoken out against Israeli settlements. Yet when Israel has balked, these Presidents showed that the word of the United States was an empty one, and stood idly by while Israel thumbed her nose at the US. Obama has the best chance of any American has had to remake America's image in the Middle East. When confronted by Israeli intransigence, will Obama move to end massive annual gift of arms and money that enables Israel's bellicosity? Or will he follow his predecessors down the path of failure and violence in the Middle East?