Monday, February 2, 2009

Obama's Future Headache

A week from tomorrow, Israel will elect a new prime minister and it is highly likely that the winner will be Benjamin Netanyahu. Despite the fact that approximately 1,300 Palestinians were killed in Gaza by Israeli forces recently, Netanyahu criticized the current Israeli administration of ending the war prematurely and vowed to completely destroy Hamas once he was elected. This does not bode well for an already destroyed Gaza that is struggling to recover.

Also, the creation of a Palestinian state that includes Gaza and the West Bank would be impossible under Netanyahu as he has vowed not to give up territory in the West Bank, maintaining that Israel needs to control it for security. In addition, he has pledged to allow Israeli settlements on Palestinian land to continue despite the fact that those settlements are illegal and are seen as a major road block to the creation of a Palestinian state.

If that's not disturbing enough, Netanyahu said Saturday that "Iran will not be armed with a nuclear weapon." When asked if this meant a military strike on Iran, he responded: "It includes everything that is necessary to make this statement come true."

President Obama has called for pulling out of Iraq and concentrating more on Afghanistan, but these goals will take some time. For now, his first major foreign policy challenge will come next week if Netanyahu is elected prime minister and that is a headache I'm quite sure he's not looking forward to.

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