By coming to Israel, Obama blocked Netanyahu from making a third victory trip to Washington and enjoying an enthusiastic reception from the Republicans, who would have invited the prime minister to once again address Congress or arranged some similar celebration. Now Obama is alone in the frame, without his rivals from the Republican Party. Netanyahu will have to deal with him alone, without his conservative cheering squad.
Obama is leaving the “bad cop” role to his secretary of state, John Kerry, who will remain in the region to nag Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas about resuming the diplomatic process. Kerry needs no grooming for this task; he is totally familiar with all the details of the negotiations Israel has held in the past with the Palestinians and with Syria.
This time, however, he isn’t here as an observer, as was the case when he was a senator; now he is the responsible intermediary. If he succeeds in making progress, he will fill his president’s Nobel Prize with some content. If he fails, as did his predecessors, he will be blamed. Obama will already be busy with other things,