So what, ultimately, is Obama’s leverage over Netanyahu? Some imaginable U.S. measures are politically inconceivable. But perhaps one Israeli obsession in the recent trivialized bargaining offers a clue: its insistence that the United States not join next year in any U.N. resolution hostile to Israel.
Israelis are worried that Obama — absent serious Netanyahu cooperation with the 2011 deadline — will say to the prime minister: “In that case, Mr. Prime Minister, I have no choice but to agree with Medvedev and Sarkozy and Cameron and Hu that we will go to the Security Council and seek a resolution establishing a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, and suggest that every state recognize it.”
That Israeli worry is some leverage. Netanyahu has to grasp that it’s crunch time.