Jeffrey Goldberg thinks that America, instead of acting as a fair dealer in the Middle East, should just tell the Arab world that it will always favor Israel:
[A] comprehensive peace will come about when the Arab side understands clearly that America has red lines of its own. The Palestinians suffer sometimes from the irrational hope that America’s support for Israel is mutable, and that the key to success is to bring about direct American pressure on Israel. This won’t happen for any number of reasons, and I think Hillary Clinton understands that American pressure will only encourage Israeli politicians to descend into the bunker.
The new secretary of state should plan on giving two speeches almost right away: One to the Palestinian parliament (or even better, to the Arab League) explaining exactly why most Americans tend to side with Israel. It should be, in essence, a speech that justifies the original Zionist idea. Then, the secretary of state should speak to the Israeli Knesset, and lay out, in very clear terms, the U.S. vision for Israel’s borders, and talk very specifically about the need to bring about the end of the settlement project, and the birth of a viable Palestinian state — and to speak of that birth as a direct American national security interest (and a direct national security interest of the State of Israel). Neither speech will be popular, of course, which is the point. But the hope is that these speeches, which would lay out in very specific terms the way things must be to ensure the survival of both the Israelis and the Palestinians, will shock the two peoples into an awareness of reality. Hillary Clinton, based on what she’s said and done so far, understands this issue better than most anyone, and I think she is smart, savvy and energetic enough to, just maybe, pull this off.
I suppose there’s something of the realist worldview in such a presicription, but I just can’t accept that the US must necessarily be unfair in its Mideast dealings. Also, I’d be curious to know why exactly Goldberg thinks that “most Americans tend to side with Israel.” I’ve got a few ideas on the question, but none that I’m totally sure about.
This, of course, begs the question of why Arabs would then want the US to be a part of an agreement anyway, if the US is incapable of being an even-handed arbitrer. While Washington remains indespensible these days, it might find its position being usurped by other regional countries like Turkey, or capitals like Beijing or Moscow that Arab capitals may see as nearly as important and much more impartial.