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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Obama's first meeting with Netanyahu: Who was there?

Remember the very first Netanyahu - Obama meeting in Washington last May - the one that turned into a complete disaster when Obama demanded that Netanyahu agree to a 'settlement freeze' on the spot and Netanyahu said no? Well here's an interesting factoid about it from the Financial Times of London:
The lack of a strong national security adviser has created recurring difficulties. Perhaps the best example is the Arab-Israeli peace process, which Mr Obama launched on his second day in office when he appointed George Mitchell as his envoy. Three months later, Mr Obama insisted Benjamin Netanyahu freeze all settlements activity in order to boost Arab confidence in the talks.

In a heated showdown in the Oval Office last May, in which Mr Netanyahu refused to accede to Mr Obama’s demand, the only officials present were Mr Emanuel and David Axelrod, senior adviser to Mr Obama in office and during the campaign. Gen Jones was not there. The fallout put the talks in abeyance and damped high Arab hopes for Mr Obama.

“The question is, which bright spark advised the president to demand a settlements freeze without working out what the next step should be when Netanyahu inevitably said ‘No’?” says Leslie Gelb, an official in the Carter administration and former head of the Council on Foreign Relations. “Why wasn’t George Mitchell in the room? Where was Jones?”
What could go wrong?


At 5:52 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

And the same mistakes have been repeated all over again a year later, when Netanyahu said "no" to a construction freeze in Jerusalem. The real question is who is minding the Obama Administration's foreign policy desk.

No one knows.

What could go wrong indeed


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