“You cannot freeze life”

This was Benjamin Netanyahu’s response to President Obama’s demand that Israel cease construction in the West Bank that is the natural outgrowth of existing settlements. In others words, Netanyahu is saying “no” to Obama.

Netanyahu explained:

We will not build new settlements. Our intention is to dismantle illegal outposts. There are reasonable demands and there are unreasonable demands. The fate of the settlements will be determined in a final status agreement.

In other words, Obama’s demand that all settlement construction be halted is not reasonable.

Obama hasn’t heard “no” from anyone with signifcant power for some time. How will he react?

There has been speculation that he will react by declining to veto anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations. This doesn’t strike me as a likely response. Obama’s goal is to bring down the Netanyahu government. The best way to accomplish this is to take steps that signal a deterioration in relations but that do not cause Israelis to sympathize with Netanyahu and to dislike Obama. The U.N. tends to pass resolution regarding Israel that are not just unfair, but noxiously so. For the U.S. to stop vetoing such resolutions would be inconsistent with the nuanced strategy I just outlined.

On the other hand, Obama is so arrogant and full of himself that he might just dispense with nuance.

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