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Thursday, July 28, 2016

How will Obama's final days in office play out for Israel?

From an al-Monitor piece discussing why Prime Minister Netanyahu is likely to conclude a new defense package with the United States before President Obama leaves office come these disturbing thoughts.
“We are talking about a comprehensive deal,” one senior political source in Jerusalem told Al-Monitor on the condition of anonymity. “Netanyahu is trying to clear the table and move toward the demands made by Obama’s people in the hope that the aid agreement will be finalized. For the same price, Netanyahu is trying to assuage any desire for retribution that Obama might still nurture. He is also trying to increase his own chances of getting through the Obama era in peace, without any new diplomatic initiative, a formative presidential address or some problematic Security Council resolution.
Right now, the chances of Netanyahu succeeding are reasonable. Within President Obama’s circles, there is, as of yet, no decision as to what the final chord of his administration’s Middle East policy will be. Some are pressuring Obama to reveal the draft of the framework agreement (as reported in previous articles in Al-Monitor) that he reached with Netanyahu and his staff, or to allow the French to bring their own initiative to the Security Council and then not veto it. Obama will only decide what to do at the very last minute.
The question now being asked in Israel is which of the two temperaments will ultimately triumph. Will it be Obama’s desire to get back at Netanyahu, who taunted him for the last eight years and dragged him into ugly and unnecessary mud-slinging matches? Or will it be Obama’s cool, collected temperament, which will keep him from reshuffling the deck and shaking everything up just moments before he exits the arena?
People close to Netanyahu say that Obama has no plans to disappear. Even after he leaves office, he will remain an active and influential figure in America. It could, therefore, be worth it for him to maintain a reasonable relationship with the Israeli government.
 What could go wrong?

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