Harvard Professor and Realist thinker Stephen Walt looks at eight ways by which the Obama administration, if it wishes, could exert pressure on Israel for concessions on the Palestinian track and the many other “wedge” issues that are likely to separate it from Netanyahu and his new government.
It’s definitely worth the read on his blog on the Foreign Policy magazine website.
I personally would be thrilled if the administration would return to the formulation used by the Nixon, Ford, and Carter administrations that Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory are “illegal” and a violation of the Geneva Conventions, because the vast majority of international lawyers who have studied the issue have concluded that’s precisely what they are and because I think such a statement would actually make the Israeli public sit up and pay attention. Of course, the neo-conservative wing of the Reagan administration, backed by Jerry Falwell and other Christian Right leaders, dropped the “illegal” characterization, and neither George H.W. Bush, nor Bill Clinton had the courage to revive it, despite the persistent view in the State Department’s legal department that the the settlements do indeed violate international law.