Netanyahu expects Palestinians to recognize Israel as a "Jewish state", which would grant legitimacy to Israel. Yet, he is unwilling to accept a Palestinian state. As for Lieberman, the new Foreign Minister, he spurns Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
The chasm that divides the U.S., which seeks a two-state solution, from Israel, which rejects the formation of a Palestinian state, is deep. As I have noted here, it is unlikely that the divide will be bridged, and it will play into the Israeli hardliners' hands should the U.S. fall for the fantasy that Bibi Netanyahu is ready to make peace. What he is ready to do is equivocate, play to right-wing audiences in the U.S., and continue to colonize the West Bank.
In the days to come, George Mitchell return to Washington and offer his evaluation to President Obama. The U.S. reaction to Israeli obduracy will be telling. Mahmoud 'Abbas is expected to visit Washington, perhaps prior to the visit of the Israeli Prime Minister, and following the visit of Jordan's King 'Abdullah on April 21, 2009.