Netanyahu may be an experienced diplomat and politician, and Obama may be a novice, but Obama is the president of a superpower, and Netanyahu represents a small country that depends greatly on the United States. It sometimes appears that Netanyahu forgets this, and pretends he is the head of a superpower, for example when he identifies himself with Winston Churchill, or in declaring that the Israeli mind will free the world of oil dependency in a decade.This is of course true, and needs to be kept firmly in mind at all times. The fact that the Obama administration clearly does not yet understand the real world out here (I'm not talking about the internal American scene, where the jury's still out), doesn't change the fact that for the next three or seven years, the Obama administration will be the single most important and powerful actor on the international scene, and also extraordinarily important for Israel. Maybe they'll learn. Even if they don't, Obama will be re-elected or not because of domestic issues, not his relationship with us.
There is however also the flip side of the coin. In seven years at the latest Obama will be packing. As will his successor in 15 years at the most. And that one's successor, in 23 years. At which time, Israel will still be in this highly volatile neighborhood.
Most political leaders most of the time cannot ever make decisions which will reverberate much beyond the term of their successor. Can anyone think of anything Helmut Schmidt did that makes any difference today? Does anyone even remember who Helmut Schmidt was? John Major? Romano Prodi? Bill Clinton? (Oops. Sorry).
The prime minister of Israel has in his (or her) power to make decisions which will directly impact on the Jewish existence in the 24th century; the status of Jerusalem being merely the most obvious of them. We've been around for a very long time, and are in for the long haul. No Israeli leader should ever make historical decisions for an immediate political reason alone. It must fit in to the long term, too.