<p><img border="0" vspace="3" align="right" width="240" src="/static/2008/02/2008-02-12MSNBCKlein.jpg" hspace="3" height="180" />So what's the biggest obstacle to Mideast peace? Hamas terrorists who refuse to accept Israel has a right to exist? Perhaps the Iranian government that finances anti-Israel terror operations? Neither, according to Time's Joe Klein (shown at right in file photo), who insists in a <a target="_blank" href="http://swampland.blogs.time.com/2009/07/20/israels-rejectionist-front/">... 20 Swampland </a>blog post the fault lies with Israel:</p><blockquote><p>Benjamin Netanyahu's phony flexibility on a two-state solution was always <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/20/world/middleeast/20israel.html?ref=wor... it's now becoming apparent that Israel is the prime impediment to progress in the Middle East. Over the weekend, the State Department asked Israel's Ambassador Michael Oren to convey U.S. displeasure over continued Israeli settlement expansion in Jerusalem, which Netanyahu rejected out of hand. </p></blockquote><p>Although Netanyahu and his coalition government won their February election -- some three months after Obama won his and just weeks after his inauguration-- fair and square, Klein makes clear he has no use for the will of the Israeli people and the decisions of their duly-elected government if and when they peeve the Obama administration:</p><blockquote><!--break--><p>It's time for Netanyahu--who recently called David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel "self-hating Jews"--to recognize that the Bush neoconservative-evangelical alliance is gone. It's time for him to adjust to the new diplomatic reality. </p></blockquote><p>To Klein, the slogan, "elections have consequences," <a target="_blank" href="/blogs/ken-shepherd/2009/04/22/times-joe-klein-harsher-israel-iran">doesn't</a> apply <a target="_blank" href="/blogs/ken-shepherd/2009/03/17/times-joe-klein-obama-may-have-lecture-israel-its-moral-standing">to Israel</a>, which has a freer and fairer election process and a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hPvcLvm0Fzm3RrgvrEHNlK... and more open society</a> than say the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. </p><p>Also of note in Klein's blog post is his insistence that Palestinians have a non-debatable claim on Jerusalem as the capital of a future sovereign state of Palestine:</p><blockquote><p>The notion that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel seems to me right and fair. But it is also the capital of Palestine. The Likudnik notion that Israel has the exclusive rights to a united Jerusalem seems as foolish as the Palestinian notion that those who were displaced in 1948 still have a right to return to their old properties in Israel. </p></blockquote><p>Of course that's a ludicrous comparison. A future Palestine can just as easily administer itself from <a target="_blank" href="http://www.ramallah.ps/english.aspx">Ramallah</a> -- where the present Palestinian Authority now retains its administrative capital -- and any final peace accord could require Israel to allow Palestinians access to Islamic holy sites within Jerusalem proper. What's more, given the history of civilian-targeted suicide bombings, aren't there legitimate security concerns to be posed by re-dividing the capital city? </p>There most certainly may be, but they are too "foolish" to merit the consideration of infinitely wise Mideast peace expert Joe Klein.