Friday, November 13, 2009

Obama and Netanyahu's 70 minute one-on-one "unprecedented".

Obama was due to talk to Netanyahu for 30 minutes, but the meeting actually went on for some 70 minutes. Is Obama telling Netanyahu that Hillary was, perhaps, overly generous to him when she was in Israel?

For the tone of Bill Burns had changed subtly but markedly from the one taken by Clinton, giving one the clear impression that a fair amount of walking back is taking place.

Burns: "We seek to create the best possible circumstances for negotiations, working with the parties, working with key regional partners like Egypt and the Quartet. We do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements; we consider the Israeli offer to restrain settlement activity to be a potentially important step, but it obviously falls short of the continuing road map obligation for a full settlement freeze. We seek to deepen international support for the Palestinian Authority’s impressive plan to build over the next couple years the institutions that a responsible Palestinian state requires. And we also seek progress toward peace between Israel and Syria, and Israel and Lebanon, as part of a broader peace among Israel and all of its neighbors." (emphasis added)
Clinton's gaffe may very well have contributed to Abbas' decision not to seek re-election and the Obama team are giving every impression that they are now leaning back towards the Palestinians.
The Obama administration now seems to be trying to desperately signal to Abbas that it is trying to give him more to work with -- and hoping it is not too late."Almost everything cited here shows a subtle but noticeable shift back towards the Palestinian perspective," says the American Task Force for Palestine's Hussein Ibish.
I'm relieved that Obama is bringing this back from the brink. I thought Hillary's comments were crass. And I'm pleased to see Burns refer to a "continuing road map obligation" when referring to settlement freeze, rather than the Israeli take on this, that it is a Palestinian pre-negotiation demand.

Israel agreed to this when she signed up for the Road Map and Netanyahu is attempting to move the goalposts when he claims that to agree to a settlement freeze is to prejudge the negotiations.

Click here for full article.

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