David Makovsky considers the conditions under which Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu woudl consider peace negotiations with Palestine.
Just a few weeks ago, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s upcoming visit to Washington had the makings of a confrontation amid U.S. dissatisfaction over peace policy. Then Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas signed a power-sharing arrangement with Hamas. Although Washington cannot easily demand that Netanyahu make major concessions on peace as Abbas joins forces with a group sworn to Israel’s destruction, the Israeli prime minister should still arrive this week with a plan for renewed peace talks.
Concerns about the Palestinian unity government are understandable. The Abbas-Hamas deal jeopardizes important gains in the West Bank of the past four years: the exemplary economic stewardship of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who oversaw 9 percent annual growth at a time of global economic recession; and the security cooperation between Israel and the PA, which has led to an unprecedented calm after several years of bloody violence.