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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

White House admits Netanyahu shunned at last Obama meeting

Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama have a 2-hour meeting scheduled at the White House at 11:00 am Washington time. Then they will have a joint press conference - just in time for prime time television in Israel. That's a big contrast to what the White House now admits was a deliberate snub the last time Netanyahu was in Washington.
Obama was cool toward Netanyahu during their last meeting, leaving the Israeli leader and his aides in the West Wing alone for hours as a subtle rebuke over Israeli settlement policies. The two were never photographed, which in diplomatic code sent a chilly message.


The White House meeting will not dwell on some of the most difficult time-sensitive issues, including the expiration in September of a moratorium on Israeli settlement construction. "I think our focus, and the focus of this meeting, is very much going to be on making that transition into direct talks," said Daniel Shapiro, senior Middle East director at the National Security Council.

Shapiro also said there is no conflict between the two leaders. "In no way do we perceive a rift," he told reporters during a conference call.

The word "rift" has become a sensitive one in recent weeks after a report that Oren, the Israeli ambassador, had said a "tectonic rift" between the two countries was underway. Oren quickly said that the quote, which was reported secondhand from a closed-door meeting in Hebrew with diplomats, was incorrect and that he had been describing the Obama administration's "shift" toward Israel.

Oren also denied that photographers had been kept away from the meeting between Netanyahu and Obama in March. "There was no photograph last time because it was thrown together at the last minute," Oren said.

A senior U.S. official, however, said it had been part of a clear effort to put Netanyahu on notice that the announcement of new construction days earlier was not acceptable. The official also spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the issue's sensitivity.
This time, both Netanyahu and Obama have an interest in things being different. Netanyahu needs to show that the Israel-US relationship is under control, and Obama needs to take what has become a partisan issue out of the midterm election cycle. Will that happen? Maybe.
"Both of them, for their own reasons, want to try to end the recent ugliness," said Bruce Riedel of the Brookings Institution. "But the fundamentals that led to that haven't changed. The United States has a big interest in advancing the peace process, in Gaza not dominating headlines in the Muslim world and radicalizing people from Morocco to Indonesia. And [Netanyahu] is not really very prepared to be flexible on those issues."

Netanyahu will be in the US for three days. Here's betting that at least some of those meetings with Obama administration officials won't be very comfortable.


At 3:14 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Netanyahu shouldn't budge. He's taken a rhetorical pummeling from Obami over everything, and its clear that Obami's agenda that Obami values the 'muslim world' more than our own.

Given Obami's approval ratings in Israel, why would Netanyahu want to appear on TV with him? It will drop his personal ratings.

Obami is simply nervous that he convinced many of his major fund raisers that he hates Israel and Jews. He thinks playing nice this once for TV will placate us.

He is profoundly naive.

Obami is an old school anti-semite, raised in the most profoundly anti-semitic tradions by his muslim father and stepfather, in the madrassas he attended as a youth, in the church he attended later on, lead by a crypto muslim blame america and african supremecist.

No, there is nothing good that can come of meeting the current occupant of the white house. He is about to be handed a loss of historic proportions in the mid terms. His official power ends then, though in actual terms, he has brought his party so far down that they are unwilling to listen to him anymore.

Why would Netanyahu want to meet this guy? What possible benefit for the state of Israel, for the Jewish people, could such a meeting possibly bring?

There are no upsides for Netanyahu, only downsides. Let him make his case directly to the American people. Bypass the Obami. Be on guard if you need to meet with them. Agree to nothing.

At 3:33 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

listen to former Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Dore Gold talk to MSNBC about Obama-Netanyahu meeting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WC9bxG1xI-w

At 5:54 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

We can only hope Netanyahu explains that Israel has kept its promise to the US and the Palestinians and now its up to the other side to fulfill theirs and that Jews have sacrificed a lot to get the Palestinians to the table and they cannot and will not sacrifice more.

Its shouldn't be a hard message for Israel's Prime Minister to deliver to Obama. This is one that deserves to be heard in Washington.


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