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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Obama and Netanyahu to clash on Golan too?

The Golan Heights are apparently going to become another bone of contention between Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and American President Barack Hussein Obama more quickly than was anticipated. CBS News reports on a statement Netanyahu made to the Russian-language media in Israel just before the Sabbath started here on Friday.
Less than two weeks before President Obama is scheduled to host Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington, public statements from the two allies suggest they have different ideas about the best strategy for peace in the Middle East.

So it was that as Israel got ready to celebrate the Jewish Sabbath on Friday, Netanyahu sent up a smoke signal that the White House should have no trouble deciphering. In a briefing with reporters from Russian-language newspapers, he said that Israel would never withdraw from the Golan Heights, which it took after defeating Syria during the 1967 Six Day War.

"Remaining on the Golan will ensure Israel has a strategic advantage in cases of military conflict with Syria," Netanyahu said, according to several Russian-oriented Israeli Web sites, which published the comments on Friday.

At the same time, Netanyahu offered a likely preview of his talking points for the tete-a-tete with the president.
  • Iran will be the top focus. Netanyahu referred to that country's nuclear enrichment program as "a major obstacle to peace in the Middle East."
  • Israel will not be forced into accepting preconditions for negotiating with the Palestinians. He also told the Russian-language outlets that Israel would not present preconditions for negotiating with the Palestinians, either.
The State Department did not respond to requests for comment.


At 10:06 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The US will want to see if Benjamin Netanyahu is a pushover. Obama may not like a weak reed much but he will have to respect someone who will stand up for his country. Israelis have to empower Bibi and let him know he can stand up to the American President. The damage that would be done to Israel's relationship to America by being honest about Israel's vital national interests will be negligible.

At 11:03 PM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...


I can only hope that Bibi will stand tall, and let Hussein know, in no uncertain terms, that there will never be a 2-state 'solution', as Israel is the only valid country, and Never-Never Land, aka 'Palestine' is a figment of Israel's enemies' imagine.

I consider The One to be the biggest threat to Israel in the past nearly 61 years.

At 12:36 AM, Blogger Tom in SFCA said...

Obama is for the most part simply indifferent to Israel and the Middle East in general. His agenda is to expand the U.S. government, to weaken and control the private sector in America, and to confiscate the wealth of those who didn't vote for him and redistribute it to those who did. Israel should ignore Obama and protect herself as best she can on her own.

At 1:01 AM, Blogger Gilda said...

Good for Netanyahu. Giving up the Golan Heights would be like putting a sniper up in a clock tower!

At 1:04 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - you've written extensively about why a Palestinian state is a futile undertaking. Here is the best argument I've seen against the two state solution now in vogue.

The Two State Delusion

From Purple Blog. Its a very through analysis of geography, history, political, economic and practical considerations and the need to explore alternatives.

Read it all.

At 5:53 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Tom in SFCA,

Everything else you wrote is true, but Obama is definitely NOT indifferent to the Middle East. The 'Palestinians' are his number one foreign policy priority.

At 6:21 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - that may be and Martin Sherman has over at Ynet an excellent article on how Benjamin Netanyahu can stand up to Obama. There are two points that sound out. First, Israel is not a shetl state of Jewboys to be bullied into submission. Second, Israel must avoid the fate of Czechoslovakia in being abandoned and forced in the name of "self-determination" to abandon the defensive high ground in the West Bank that keeps it secure.

If I Were Netanyahu

There's more. Read it all.


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