Will Obama’s Israel Speech Matter?

Judis doesn’t expect the speech to do much good:

First, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s narrow ruling coalition can’t survive without the support of Naftali Bennett’s Habayit Hayehudi party, which controls twelve seats in the Knesset. Bennett’s party is opposed to a two-state solution and exacted an agreement from Netanyahu that it would be part of a special super-committee that would oversee any negotiations with the Palestinians. Except for Tzipi Livni’s Hatnuah party, none of Netanyahu’s coalition partners, and few of the members of Netanyahu’s own Likud-Beiteinu party, favor meaningful negotiations with the Palestinians. Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party, for instance, favors creating a two-state solution based on denying citizenship to Israel’s Arabs.

Second, the Palestinians do not appear ready for negotiations. Mahmoud Abbas has not proven to be the kind of strong political leader that could sell an agreement to his people. Hamas, which controls Gaza, and still has supporters in the West Bank, has said it will accede to an agreement along the lines of the 1967 borders, but it’s not clear that Abbas can get, and that Netanyahu will accept, an agreement along those lines. In the meantime, the Palestinian leadership remains deeply divided, which makes fruitful negotiations difficult.