While the incoming Obama Administration’s foreign policy plans, regarding Israeli-Arab issues or any others, can’t really be formed until key positions such as Secretary of State and National Security Adviser are announced, the Transition Team does have a national security working group in place and they must be discussing options for the new team.
When it comes to the discussion of how to approach Israeli-Palestinian issues, there will be no dearth of advice from analysts and advocates, but with Israeli elections scheduled for February 10, the threshold decision Obama will have to make is whether he wants to do anything that might tip the balance (or yield a backlash) one way or another.
Candidates Livni and Netanyahu are each committing to working hard on finding peace and security with the Palestinians, but they each offer very different approaches to doing so. An interested Obama Administration could potentially work productively with either Israeli leader and on either approach. With so many other critical issues – foreign and domestic – on the new President’s agenda, we think waiting a few more weeks for the citizens of Israel to pick their new leader – without interference from the U.S. – is the wisest and most practical course for Team Obama. For more – read Aluf Benn here.