Goldberg On Netanyahu: Bluffing? Ctd

Jim Fallows, in a thoughtful post, asks this question of his colleague:

You've raised, in your recent reports, the possibility that the Netanyahu government has actually been carrying out an elaborate high-stakes bluff. Eg, "How has Obama convinced the world that these sanctions [on Iran] are necessary? By pointing to Netanyahu and saying, 'If you don't cooperate with me on sanctions, this guy is going to blow up the Middle East.' Obama's good-cop routine is then aided immeasurably by the world's willingness to believe that Netanyahu is the bad cop."

If it was a bluff, it's one you've had a unique opportunity to see and assess. If they really were bluffing, presenting you with the evidence and data for your 2010 cover story would have been a very important step. As you think back, Chazz Palminteri style, on what you heard and saw in 2010, knowing what you now know — about two years with no attack, and about the "bluff" hypothesis you've now raised — is there anything that seems different to you in retrospect? Anything that now increases your suspicions that they were bluffing at the time?

Jeffrey's reply is appended. You should read both – and Bob Wright's attempt to wrestle with a core question at issue: whoever has been responsible for what in the past, what is the main obstacle to peace now?

His answer – and mine and Peter Beinart's – is the settlements and their intensification. And by the way, of course both sides have in the past done great damage to the chances of a peaceful resolution in a two-state solution. From the era of the attempted partition to the age of the PLO, my view is that it's the Palestinians who have missed more opportunities than the Israelis. But in the last few years, the reverse has been true, in my view, and the possibility that the settlements may have already passed the point where a two-state solution is now on life-support makes a breakthrough a matter of urgency.