After more than a year, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu meets President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday, Nov. 9, with the deck heavily stacked against him – and not just because of the Islamic State, which is a universal bane, or Obama’s Iran policy – or even the evaporation of the peace process with the Palestinians. This time, Netanyahu is not getting a dressing-down over the disappearance of the two-state solution, because even the US president has decided to shelve it for the remainder of his presidency which ends in January 2017.
This is not because the Netanyahu government has missed any chances for talks with the Palestinians, as the Israeli opposition loudly claims, but because it is unrealistic.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Abu Mazen (Mahmud Abbas), who lost all credibility on the Palestinian street long ago, has been quietly but continuously encouraging the continuous Palestinian wave of terror by knives, guns and cars.
The Israeli prime minister had his most promising card snatched from him just ten days before he traveled to Washington. He had intended presenting the US president with the quiet alliance he had formed with key moderate Arab governments as a viable alternative for the deadlocked Palestinian peace process, with the promise of a measure of stability for its members in the turbulence around them.
However, the linchpin Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi’s position was suddenly shaken up badly by the downing of the Russian passenger plane over Sinai on Oct. 31, presenting him with his most dangerous crisis since he took power in 2013.
In addition, the security situation in Syria, including along Israel’s northern border, especially the Golan, has gone from bad to worse – especially since Russia built up its military presence in Syria.
Israel has been forced to forego most of its red lines for defending its security as no longer relevant. Although no Israeli official says so openly, Israel’s military options in Syria have shrunk, and even the overflights by its air force flights for keeping threats at bay are seriously restricted..
Iran and Hizballah, under Russian air cover, have been slowly but surely making gains in their attempt to retake southern Syria from the rebels and hand it over to the army of Syrian President Assad.
Israel is still insisting that it will not allow the deployment of Iranian or Hizballah forces on the Syrian side of the Golan, but these statements are losing their impact. If the coalition of Russia, Iran, Syria and Hizballah defeats the rebels in southern Syria and moves in up to its border, Israel will find it extremely difficult to prevent this happening.
Read More: No good news in the Mid East for Obama or Netanyahu when they meet Monday