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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Senators urge Obama to lean on Arab states

Two Senators - Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and James Risch (R-Idaho) are circulating a letter among their colleagues that urges the Obama administration to pressure the Arab states to make peace overtures to Israel.
"Such steps could include ending the Arab League boycott of Israel, meeting openly with Israeli officials, establishing open trade relations with Israel, issuing visas to Israeli citizens, and inviting Israelis to participate in academic and professional conferences and sporting events," said the letter from Sens. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and James Risch (R-Idaho), circulated July 23 for co-signatories. "We also believe that Arab states must immediately and permanently end official propaganda campaigns which demonize Israel and Jews."

The letter praises what it says have been Israel's overtures, including Netanyahu's reiteration of Israel's backing for a two-state solution and his easing of some travel conditions in the West Bank, although it avoids mention of a settlement freeze, a component that Obama's aides say they need in order to entice Arab leaders.
It will be interesting to see how many Senators sign on. In any event, Obama is likely to ignore the letter. After all, Mohamed knows best.


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