SOTU 2013: Talking about Israel


Benjamin Netanyahu won re-election in the recent Israeli parliamentary elections, but his right wing government now has to contend with a re-invigorated left, which means that on the domestic front, his choices will be much more difficult to make.

In respect to foreign policy, the Israeli political spectre generally agrees that Iran represents a threat, and this is where Netanyahu will focus his energies over his next term, in order to maintain sway in government.

We must note that Netanyahu's stance on Iran is not new - he has been maintaining it since the Revolution took place in 1979.

The Palestinians' bid for full membership as a state in the United Nations was not outwardly granted in the General Assembly, but enough votes were secured to make it the next logical step for Palestine. Netanyahu responded with authorizing further settlemetn construction in Jerusalem and the West Bank, but this action only succeeded in alienating it allies, including garnering the reproach of the United States for it being a counter-productive policy.

Netanyahu's generally unsophisticated world view and his actions because of it are trending towards the deepening of Israel's isolation and preparing the ground for further problems, as international support, specifically American contributions, become more difficult in lieu of slashed budgets and the re-orientation of Washington westward.

Put simply, Israel needs to sit down and have an honest conversation with itself about its role in the Middle East and what it has to look like in the next years and decades.

None of this will appear in SOTU, however. President Obama will merely underline the traditional pleasantries and not stir the fire just yet.