There is only one way to spell Netanyahu, and that is nun-taf-nun-yood-hay-vav. Any other way, I wouldn’t worry about getting it right so much. You should see what the Israelis do to English…
I think that Israel is certainly a piece of aggravation for the “Arab Street.” I don’t think that the US can do very much about it though. I think that there is a lot of truth in what some Israelis claim about the situation: people like Saddam, Bashir Assad, and the House of Saud are much more interested in expoiting the Israel-Palestine situation to focus their populace’s grievances away from their own brutally repressive regimes than in having it solved. With peace in Israel, people like the House of Saud will have to start doing a lot of explaining.
Perhaps I am cynical, but at times like these, I honestly believe that any peace plan fronted by the US, even if it calls for sweeping concessions by Israel, will be interpreted as anti-Arab and anti-Muslim and pro-Israel. Distrust towards the US is at a huge level. The only hope the US has for advancing a peace plan is through the “Quartet” or through an Arab go-between (like Prince Abdallah of the House of Saud who introduced a peace plan last year). And even that is not a sure-fire way to change a lot of minds.
I think the US would be much better off supporting things that would directly make Mohammed Q. ibn Public’s life better. I think this will have a direct effect on increasing US credibility, which we can then use. We need to convince the bulk of Arabs that we are on their side. This will have a much more directed effect than convincing Arabs we are on the Palestinians’ side so we must at least care for some Arabs. I mean, they kind of overlook the whole Kosovo thing where we went to war for Muslims, and they are glad to spew the whole “US is declaring war on Islam” line. I don’t think that helping a bunch of Palestinians would be the most effective way to convince starving unemployed Egyptians, Syrians, Saudis, and Iraqis that we really cared deeply for Arabs. And, really, if we want to make that area of the world better, we have to start caring deeply for all Arabs. Support free press, free elections, increased freedoms, decreased corrpution, all of the good things without lining the pockets of the oppressors. That will get them on our side.
al-Qaeda is filled with Saudis and Egyptians. The way to decrease their numbers is to increase the opinion of America amongst Saudis and Egpytians. The primary way to do that is not to help Palestinians, it is to help Saudis and Egyptians.