Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Obama gets tougher with Israel on Palestinians, Iran.

Netanyahu will have his first meeting with Obama when he comes to the US around May 17. It's going to be a strained one, as Netanyahu has so far managed to avoid calling for a state of Palestine, whilst Obama and Clinton have made it abundantly clear that such a state is a priority for the US.

Nor, according to Gen. James Jones, national security adviser to President Barack Obama, will Netanyahu enjoy the kind of reception which all Israeli leaders enjoyed under president Bush, who literally gave the Israelis whatever it was that they demanded.

Jones has told a European foreign minister that Obama will be "forceful" with Israel.

Meanwhile, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told an AIPAC conference last night that two states for two peoples is the only solution the United States is committed to.

"Relations between Israel and the U.S. are unbreakable," Emanuel said before a gathering of 350 AIPAC donors, adding that "this is the moment of truth for Israel and the Palestinians."
The Israelis will do all that they can to avoid this coming down to a question of "will they retreat to the 1967 lines or not", so we can expect them to attempt to do what they always do in these situations and simply bang the bottom of the pond in the hope that they can muddy the waters sufficiently to make the question regarding a Palestinian state simply go away.

To that end we can expect to hear a lot about Iran's nuclear programme and the question of whether or not the Palestinians will accept Israel as a Jewish state. Both are simply tactics for avoiding negotiations and both were played yesterday with aplomb:
Several days ago, a classified telegram was received in Jerusalem discussing a meeting between Jones and a European foreign minister. Jones told his European interlocutor that President George W. Bush had avoided actions on the Palestinian question that Israel opposed, but the Obama administration intended to change this practice and become more active. It would not make concessions on matters that Israel had committed to.

"The new administration will convince Israel to compromise on the Palestinian question," Jones said. "We will not push Israel under the wheels of a bus, but we will be more forceful toward Israel than we have been under Bush."

Jones is quoted in the telegram as saying that the United States, European Union and moderate Arab states must redefine "a satisfactory endgame solution."

The U.S. national security adviser did not mention Israel as party to these consultations.

In the face of the strongly worded American signals, Netanyahu reiterated yesterday to the Knesset that "recognition of the State of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people is the necessary basis for genuine peace between us and our Palestinian neighbors."

And, at the same time, Perez took to the airwaves to talk about Iran threatening the entire world. So far, so predictable.

Israel is playing the usual obstructionist cards that she can always be expected to play in these circumstances, but the noises coming from the Obama team imply that they are not going to buy them. Obama and Clinton are serious about forming a Palestinian state and Netanyahu is firmly against this.

I don't think Obama is going to blink first here and his appointment of Clinton as his Secretary of State is starting to look like a very shrewd one. Israel's supporters can now be expected to do what Hillary tried to do to Obama during the primaries; they will now throw everything but the kitchen sink at him in an attempt to make him back down.

But Obama has placed Hillary between himself and the Israelis, and it will be very hard for anyone to question Hillary's pro-Israel credentials.

So, Netanyahu has his work cut out. As does Obama.
Robert Satloff, the director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said he is concerned by the disagreements between Israel and the United States regarding Iran.

"If there is no complete agreement on all the details in dealing with this issue, there is a chance for the most serious dispute between the U.S. and Israel in the entire 61 years of relations between the two," Satloff said.
It's going to be a fascinating couple of months, for Obama appears to have been serious when he said that he wanted to return the US to it's role as "honest broker". It's long overdue, but it's going to involve an awful lot of rancour as the Israelis adjust to the fact that the days of Bush - and his policies of simply giving the Israelis whatever they desire - are completely over.

Click title for full article.


Anonymous said...

There can be no compromises with Palestinians.
God gave the land of Isreal. It is written in the Bible.
A two state solution would be a violation of God's word and his plans for his people.
The only solution is for Arabs to move to Arab lands.
There's plenty of places they can live besides Israel.
Israel should be a Jewish state and it cannot fulfill its destiny if Arab are allowed to live there.
The new Israeli government is taking a more hardline view. A rejection of the two state solution that has been constantly supported by misguided governments along the way.
One cannot ignore the will of God.
The Jews are the chosen people.
Any attempt to divide their God given land is an abomination and insult to God.

Kel said...

There can be no compromises with Palestinians.
God gave the land of Isreal. It is written in the Bible.
Okay, next patient please.

(Opening drawer and gently removing tranquilliser gun.)