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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Netanyahu's doubleheader

Prime Minister Netanyahu had two meetings with President Obama on Tuesday night. The first meeting lasted from 5:34 to 7:03 pm Washington time. Then aides to Netanyahu and Obama continued to talk. And then, reports New York Daily News White House Correspondent Ken Bazinet, there was a second meeting from 8:20 to 8:55 pm. The second meeting was at Netanyahu's request.

As was the case the last time Netanyahu was at the White House, there was no photo opportunity and no press access. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) criticized the White House for not at least having a photo opportunity and using it to put out the word that the crisis is over. But perhaps that's because the crisis isn't over.
Mr. Netanyahu’s difficult position was on display during an unusually testy visit to Washington. He and Mr. Obama did not appear side by side before reporters or even pose for cameras before their meeting.

Just hours after delivering a defiant speech in which he told a pro-Israel lobby that “Jerusalem is not a settlement; it’s our capital,” Mr. Netanyahu refused to budge on an American demand that he reverse a housing plan in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

He did pledge to adhere to more rigid controls over announcements of construction in East Jerusalem, carrying from meeting to meeting here a diagram that he said laid out how much red tape Israelis must go through before they could expand housing there.

But it remained unclear whether he would even allow scheduled negotiations with the Palestinians to focus on substantive issues like borders and security, another American demand.

The impasse leaves Mr. Obama in the same position that he was in last fall, when Mr. Netanyahu defied American demands for a full freeze on settlements in the West Bank, causing the White House to set that issue aside as a first step toward restarting Middle East peace talks.

But this time, White House officials and even many Middle East analysts say that Mr. Obama, by allowing the dispute over the East Jerusalem construction to spill over publicly, has laid down a marker signaling that the United States is likely to press Israel hard on Jerusalem in future peace talks with the Palestinians. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their eventual state.


While the two countries are now trying to put the fight behind them, “the writing is on the wall that Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu” and the Israeli political right with whom he has formed a governing coalition “are going to clash on final status,” said Robert Malley, the director of the Middle East program at the International Crisis Group, referring to the entrenched issues like Jerusalem and borders that have bedeviled peace negotiators since 1979.
I'm not sure what the Times' sources are for what went on in that meeting. I don't think anyone really knows for sure. Daniel Pipes talks about Netanyahu's difficult predicament and what he might have said to President Obama here.


At 5:01 PM, Blogger Chrysler 300M said...

Emmanuel & Axelrod yemach shmo w zikhro

At 5:03 PM, Blogger Menorah said...

Maybe the reason for no photo op is because Hussein Obama didn't want his Muslim brothers to see him shaking hands with a Jew.

At 7:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

obama well always protect the muslims..the muslims were exempt from this debacle on our health care system...so tell me does` anyone thinks he has israel best interest at heart................


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