U.S. President Barak Obama intends on offering Israel more U.S. pressure on Iran in exchange for greater Israeli overtures to the Palestinians, the British publication, The Sunday Times, reported today.
Early in his first term Obama tried to similarly link Israeli peace efforts and U.S. action on Iran’s nuclear program. In testimony to Congress in April 2009, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that, “For Israel to get the kind of support its looking for vis-a-vis Iran, it can’t stay on the sidelines with respect to the Palestinians and peace efforts. They go hand in hand.”
Clinton’s statement was part of an intense push by the Obama administration, which began shortly after Obama’s inauguration, to force newly elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to endorse Palestinian statehood and make concessions to the Palestinians. In June 2009, Netanyahu endorsed the two-state solution for the first time in a major policy address at Bar Ilan University.
Obama reportedly intends to visit Israel as well as Jordan this coming March. It would be his first visit to Israel since he was first elected President.
Typically, such a presidential visit would be used to push for progress on a major issue, such as reaching a peace agreement, though almost all reports about the trip predicted that Obama would not be using the visit for such a purpose.