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Monday, May 03, 2010

Obama can't push through a deal with a 9% approval rating

Some common sense from a fairly unexpected quarter.
The crisis in U.S.-Israel relations that followed Biden's trip, when Israel announced its construction plans in East Jerusalem, seems only to have hardened Saban's view of Obama. "I don't think Haim feels particularly positive about Bibi's performance," Saban's close adviser said. "But he certainly isn't happy about Obama's." "I'm hoping that the White House's brilliance will surprise us all," Saban told me. "But I believe in my heart of hearts that the chances of success are much bigger if they work with Israel rather than against it." Saban pointed out that, in the late nineties, President Clinton had pushed Netanyahu very hard, but behind closed doors. "Bill Clinton somehow managed to be revered and adored by both the Palestinians and the Israelis," he said. "Obama has managed to be looked at suspiciously by both. It's not too late to fix that."

He pointed to news reports that the Obama Administration is considering presenting a peace plan. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that both Netanyahu and Abbas were to sign it, he continued, Netanyahu might still have to bring it to a referendum for approval. "Any deal that is pushed by the U.S. with Obama at a nine-per-cent approval rating in Israel, at the moment, will not go through," he said. Last August, when Saban was in Washington, he met with both Hillary Clinton and Rahm Emanuel, and he argued that Obama should travel to Israel to speak to the Israeli people. That has been his continuing message. "I told friends of mine in the White House, 'He goes to Saudi Arabia, he goes to Cairo, he doesn't even make a stop in Jerusalem?' If he thinks that having a Seder at the White House is going to mitigate that - no, it's not."
Shmuel Rosner (from whom I got that quote) adds that Clinton might have been more discrete with Netanyahu, but achieved little. Yes, but there were two other parties who had a lot to do with how little Clinton achieved (Arafat and Hafez Assad). Netanyahu did sign the Wye agreement (a mistake in my view). You could make the same comment about how little Clinton achieved with Ehud Barak in charge, but no one other than Robert Malley would blame Clinton or Barak for that.


At 11:09 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

There's the Palestinians. Sure, they could sign something - but could they deliver on an agreement Israel? Of course not. Israel is not negotiating with Barack Obama. Its supposedly talking to the PA,that does not have an elected government with no mandate to do anything. That's a very important point overlooked in both Jerusalem and Washington.

For that reason, I don't see the "proximity talks" progressing very far any time soon.

At 11:48 PM, Blogger Captain.H said...

Here's a very interesting article in today's World Tribune. "Bibi be gone: Obama team plotting overthrow of Israel's Netanyahu".

The gist of it is that Obama & Co. have made a decision to do all in their power to oust Netanyahu from office. Their preferred replacement is Tsipi Livni. Also, the administration's anti-Israel stance and actions are finally starting to have some negative consequences for the Democrats.

Personally, I don't see B. Hussein Obama changing his tune on this, whatever the cost to some Democrats.

At 1:58 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Obama's problem is Netanyahu's coalition is pretty solid. He would have to get them to vote against their own interests. This Israeli government is going to be in office until after Obama (hopefully!) is gone.


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