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It should not be forgotten that in the immediate run-up to President Obama’s May 19, 2011 speech at the State Department in which he delivered his “ ‘67 lines” scenario for Middle East peace, the informed buzz among Beltway pundits was that the president would break no new ground with his remarks. So much for informed buzz.
It was precisely for that reason that we became uneasy when we began hearing, seemingly non-stop, that the president intended no new diplomatic initiatives on his upcoming trip to Israel.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, for example, said in a radio interview that President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu “agreed that the start of his second term and the new Israeli government will be a good time for him to come and renew the deep connection that is ongoing between Israel and the United States.”
Ambassador Shapiro also said that Mr. Obama hoped to engage in “deep consultation with key partners” concerning “critical regional security issues.” And he emphasized that the most pressing issues facing Israel and the U.S. were the Iranian nuclear program and the possible transfer of Syrian chemical weapons.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney declared that President Obama would not offer up a new peace plan on his visit to Israel. The trip, he insisted, was not connected to any “specific” Middle East peace proposal, adding that pushing for a resumption of direct negotiations was not the purpose of the trip.
But the alarm bells really began to rang with Palestinian reaction to news of the visit. The PA welcomed it, expressing the hope that it would mark the beginning of a new U.S. policy in the Middle East and noting that Secretary of State John Kerry was scheduled to come to Ramallah to prepare for the president’s visit.
One PA official told The Jerusalem Post, “Obama needs to understand that the ball remains in the Israeli court. We expect Obama to exert pressure on the Israeli government to stop building in the settlements, including east Jerusalem, and release Palestinian prisoners in order to pave the way for the resumption of the peace talks.”
Hanan Ashwari, a member of the PLO executive committee, also welcomed the visit “if it signals an American promise to become an honest and impartial peace broker…which requires decisive curbs on Israeli violations and unilateral measures, particularly settlement activity and the annexation of Jerusalem, as well as its siege and fragmentation policies.”
This was followed by talk of a trilateral summit during the visit to include President Obama, Prime Minister Netanyahu and PA President Abbas – talk that seemed to indicate that much more may be in the making than had been suggested.
Then came a report in Britain’s Sunday Times that President Obama was prepared to substantially increase the heat on Iran over its nuclear program if Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to open talks with Mr. Abbas on borders and security issues, even if the issues of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees are not raised. Mr. Netanyahu may not have much leverage in the matter, having stated that the Iranian nuclear threat overshadows any dispute with the Palestinians in terms of Israel’s national interests.
The Sunday Times quoted Aaron David Miller, an adviser on the Middle East to six secretaries of state, as saying “Barack Obama does not want to be the American president on whose watch Iran acquires a nuclear weapon or be accused of presiding over the demise of what’s left of the two-state solution.
So contrary to what we were initially led to expect, it appears there will be a significant effort on the part of President Obama during his visit to revive negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. And that is a problem for Israel, because increased U.S. involvement translates into U.S. pressure on Israel to move closer to Palestinian terms for peace.
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Desperate people take what they can, seizing opportunity to advance their main goal; the Arabs don’t
There was a glaring void in the President’s State of the Union speech: Israel.
Let’s focus not on becoming an ATM for that little bundle of joy, but on what you can save in taxes.
Israel has some wild places left; places to reflect and think, to get lost, to try to find ourselves
The British government assured Anglo-Jewry that it is attacking the rising levels of anti-Semitism.
Obama’s Syrian policy failures created the current situation in the Golan Heights.
Our journey begins by attempting to see things differently, only then can we be open to change.
Despite Western ‘Conventional Wisdom&PC,’ the Arab/Israeli conflict was never about the Palestinians
Confrontation & accountability, proven techniques, might also help dealing with religious terrorists
In fact, wherever you see soldiers in Paris today, you pretty much know you’re near Jewish site
Inspired by the Perek Shira pasuk for “small non-kosher animals” we named the bunny “Rebbetzin Tova”
The abuse following publication proved a cautionary tale: no one followed in Peters’s footsteps
Plainly, there is no guiding hand dictating choices across the board.
In this particular case, the issue was whether the Arkansas prison system could prohibit, for security reasons, a devout Muslim’s maintaining a beard of a certain length as a matter of religious practice.
Despite the president’s respectable anti-terrorism record, he doubtless has little interest in being identified with anything that might suggest, however tangentially, criticism of Muslims or Islam.
One wonders what connection that rejection has with turning to the ICC, which would allow the Palestinians to bring war-crime charges against individual Israelis and is certainly one more step away from seeking a negotiated settlement.
In the NPR interview, Mr. Obama said Iran could become a “very successful regional power” if it agreed to a long-term nuclear deal.
Thus, despite the increasingly serious problems for the mayor arising out of the current anti-police protests, Mr. de Blasio apparently will be cut no slack by those who seem to be aiming for a significant role in running the city from the streets and who will do whatever they can to prevent their momentum from ebbing.
Despite strong pressure to throw the book at the accused, Mr. Thompson allowed him to plead guilty to assault.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/the-presidents-trip-to-israel/2013/02/13/
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