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Monday, December 28, 2009

Oren downplays Obama's pressure on Israel

In an interview with the JPost's Herb Keinon, Israeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren downplayed the pressure that the United States has brought to bear on Israel.
Oren, in Israel to take part in a Foreign Ministry-sponsored conference of all the country's ambassadors and consuls-generals, said in an interview that if the Americans wanted to twist arms, "they probably could. But they don't. That's not the way they want to go about it. They want to be in a situation where both sides [Israel and the Palestinians] come back to the negotiation table of their own free will, without being coerced in any way."

While Oren said there were fundamental differences between Israel and the US on building in Jerusalem and the settlement issue, and while he said the US does make its positions known, he can't find any "physical evidence of pressure."

And this, he said, stood in contrast to previous US administrations.

For instance, he pointed out that the Reagan administration, which he characterized as a "very pro-Israel administration, an ultimate pro-Israel administration," cut off the supply of jet aircraft to Israel following the bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981.

"That is pressure," he said.

Likewise, he said that during the Camp David negotiations with Egypt in the 1970s, then-president Jimmy Carter "threatened to cut off aid if we didn't agree to certain positions. That is pressure."

Oren, a historian, said he came to his job with a historian's perspective.
Sorry, but the current situation is potentially worse. Reagan cut off the supply of jet aircraft after Israel had already done what needed to be done. And Carter was acting at a time when Israel had won a war four years earlier and Egypt's President Sadat was suing for peace. That's very different than the current situation where Israel is looking ahead at an existential threat. Unfortunately, there is too much that can go wrong. Israel has to look out for its own interests.


At 1:36 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

Israelis can't finish their home improvements either because of pressure from Obama or because Netanyahu is caving to some sort of mystical non-pressure that Bibi perceives as pressure. Either way, the US is pressuring Israel and Bibi is caving. Just like he caved to Clinton. A paper tiger.

At 6:37 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel is trying to please the US but in the end Israel will get no credit for it. The prospect the US will pressure the PA to stop supporting terrorism and to make real peace with Israel are none. That's one prediction bound to come true in 2010.


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