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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Did Netanyahu prostrate himself before Obama?

Did Prime Minister Netanyahu prostrate himself before President Obama (and Abu Bluff) on Monday night? That's how Haaretz makes it sound.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposed additional Israeli gestures to the Palestinian Authority during his White House meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama Monday night, in an effort to persuade PA President Mahmoud Abbas to agree to resume talks with Israel.

The road to arranging the meeting was rocky and humiliating for Netanyahu, and it seems the Americans tried to give it the lowest possible diplomatic and media profile even after agreeing to hold it. Afterward, the White House issued a laconic statement that did not even describe the meeting as "positive" or "good."

It merely said the two leaders had discussed bilateral issues, and continued: "The President reaffirmed our strong commitment to Israel's security, and discussed security cooperation on a range of issues. The President and the Prime Minister also discussed Iran and how to move forward on Middle East peace."

Moreover, no photographs of the two men together have been released. The video photographer for the Israel Government Press Office was not allowed to enter the meeting room, and the stills photographer was allowed to enter but not publish the pictures he took.

In addition, the meeting took place late at night, and Netanyahu arrived in an ordinary van rather than the state limousine in which guests are usually brought to the White House for meetings with the president.
It is almost certainly the case that the extent to which this meeting was downplayed was meant to avoid further infuriating the 'Palestinians' over Obama's backtracking on a 'settlement freeze.' And any 'gestures' (if any were offered) were probably a quid pro quo for some form of US cooperation on Iran. I remain convinced that the real purpose of the meeting was to discuss joint action on Iran and that what we will see in the future is how that joint action plays out.

But it's a shame to have to give Haaretz an opportunity to gloat like that.


At 11:58 PM, Blogger Moriah said...

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposed additional Israeli gestures to the Palestinian Authority"

I've got a nice "gesture" for the Balestinian Autority, yeah, my Mom's Italian and we speak with our hands ;-)

At 12:01 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Haaretz is the Hebrew Palestinian daily so they would naturally try to play up Netanyahu's difficulties in the US. Basically, its much ado about nothing. And Netanyahu's gestures will not bring the Palestinians back to the table - they were for PR consumption.

At 12:11 AM, Blogger Yosef said...

Interesting that Bibi's meeting with Sarkozy in Paris this evening was held under similar circumstances. What's going on?


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