Haaretz (Editorial)
May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

During his visit to Washington in less than three weeks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet an American administration which is credited by the free world with the killing of the arch terrorist Osama bin Laden.

On Barack Obama's watch, the U.S. armed forces managed to kill the murderer of thousands of American citizens who had managed to evade punishment for more than nine years.

The successful operation made the president popular among Americans and dampened his image as a soft leader, an image of him encouraged by his rivals on the right.

During his Cairo speech in June 2009 Obama presented the challenge of the struggle against terrorism, alongside reconciliation with the Muslim world and ending the Arab-Israeli conflict.

In the coming weeks Obama will enjoy broad support on the international scene in general, and in the Middle East in particular. It makes sense that the president will seek to use this credit to advance the strategic interests of the U.S. in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran, and put an end to the killing of civilians in Libya and Syria by their rulers.

Hopefully, Obama will also take advantage of the opportunity to resume the negotiations on a permanent status settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. The killing of bin Laden, like the possibility for reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, is having no influence on Israel's urgent need for a political agreement.

The foolish statements by the Hamas prime minister in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyeh, condemning the killing of bin Laden, stress the importance of nurturing relations with the Palestinian camp headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, who reiterates his opposition to the use of violence and terrorism.

In his address before Congress, after congratulating President Obama on his important achievement against terrorism, Netanyahu must present a serious and credible Israeli peace initiative.

This would render unnecessary the initiative at the UN to recognize a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders and prevent another round of violence in the territories and regional tension. Moving toward a settlement with the Palestinian peace camp remains the only recipe for the existence of Israel as a Jewish, democratic and secure state.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017