Netanyahu’s peace plan

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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s visit with US President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday was a baptism of fire for the new premier. What emerged from the meeting is that Obama’s priorities regarding Iran, Israel and the Arab world are diametrically opposed to Israel’s priorities.
During his ad hoc press conference with Netanyahu, Obama made clear that he will not lift a finger to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. And acting as Obama’s surrogate, for the past two weeks CIA Director Leon Panetta has made clear that Obama expects Israel to also sit on its thumbs as Iran develops the means to destroy it.
Obama showed his hand on Iran in three ways. First, he set a nonbinding timetable of seven months for his policy of appeasement and engagement of the ayatollahs to work. That policy, he explained, will only be implemented after next month’s Iranian presidential elections. And those direct US-Iranian talks must be given at least six months to show results before they can be assessed as successful or failed.
But Israel’s Military Intelligence has assessed that six months may be too long to wait. By the end of the year, Iran’s nuclear program may be unstoppable. And Iran’s successful test of its solid fuel Sejil-2 missile with a 2,000 kilometer range on Wednesday merely served to show the urgency of the situation. Obviously the mullahs are not waiting for Obama to convince them of the error of their ways.
Beyond the fact that Obama’s nonbinding timeline is too long, there is his “or else.” Obama made clear that in the event that in December or January he concludes that the Iranians are not negotiating in good faith, the most radical step he will be willing to take will be to consider escalating international sanctions against Teheran. In the meantime, at his urging, Congressman Howard Berman, chairman of the House International Affairs Committee, has set aside a bill requiring sanctions against oil companies that export refined fuel into Iran.
Finally there was Obama’s contention that the best way for the US to convince Iran to give up its nuclear program is by convincing Israel to give away more land to the Palestinians. As Obama put it, “To the extent that we can make peace with the Palestinians, between the Palestinians and the Israelis, then I actually think it strengthens our hand in the international community in dealing with a potential Iranian threat.” This statement encapsulates the basic lack of seriousness and fundamental mendacity of Obama’s approach to “dealing with a potential Iranian threat.”
Iran has made clear that it wants Israel destroyed. The mullahs don’t care how big Israel is. Their missiles are pointing at Tel Aviv, not Beit El. As for the international community, the Russians and Chinese have not been assisting Iran’s nuclear and missile programs for the past 15 years because there is no Palestinian state. They have been assisting Iran because they think a strong Iran weakens the US. And they are right.
The Arab states, for their part, are already openly siding with Israel against Iran. The establishment of a Palestinian state will not make their support for action to prevent Iran from acquiring the means to dominate the region any more profound.
On the face of it, Obama’s obsessive push for a Palestinian state makes little sense. The Palestinians are hopelessly divided. It is not simply that Hamas rules the Gaza Strip and Fatah controls Judea and Samaria. Fatah itself is riven by division. Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s appointment of the new PA government under Salaam Fayad was overwhelmingly rejected by Fatah leaders. Quite simply, there is no coherent Palestinian leadership that is either willing or capable of reaching an accord with Israel.
As for the prospects for peace itself, given that there is little distinction between the anti-Semitic bilge broadcast daily in Gaza by Hamas-controlled media, and the anti-Semitic bilge broadcast daily in Judea and Samaria by the Fatah/Abbas/Fayad-controlled media, those prospects aren’t looking particularly attractive. That across-the-board anti-Semitic incitement has engendered the current situation where Hamas and Fatah members and supporters are firmly united in their desire to see Israel destroyed. This was made clear on Thursday morning when a Fatah policeman in Kalkilya used his US-provided rifle to open fire on IDF soldiers engaged in a counterterror operation in the city.
Given that the establishment of a Palestinian state will have no impact on Iran’s nuclear program, and in light of the fact that under the present circumstances any Palestinian state will be at war with Israel, and assuming that Obama is not completely ignorant of the situation on the ground, there is only one reasonable explanation for his urgent desire to force Israel to support the creation of a Palestinian state and to work for its establishment by expelling hundreds of thousands of Israelis from their homes. Quite simply, it is a way to divert attention away from Obama’s acquiescence to Iran’s nuclear aspirations.
BY MAKING the achievement of the unachievable goal of making peace between Israel and the Palestinians through the establishment of a Palestinian terror state the centerpiece of his Middle East agenda, Obama is able to cast Israel as the region’s villain. This aim is reflected in the administration’s intensifying pressure on Israel to destroy Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.
In portraying Jews who live in mobile homes on barren hilltops in Judea and Samaria – rather than Iranian mullahs who test ballistic missile while enriching uranium and inciting genocide – as the greatest obstacle to peace, the Obama administration not only seeks to deflect attention away from its refusal to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. It is also setting Israel up as the fall guy who it will blame after Iran emerges as a nuclear power.
Obama’s intention to unveil his Middle East peace plan in the course of his speech to the Muslim world in Cairo on June 4, like his decision to opt out of visiting Israel in favor of visiting a Nazi death camp, make it clear that he does not perceive Israel as a vital ally, or even as a partner in the peace process he wishes to initiate. Israeli officials were not consulted about his plan. Then, too, from the emerging contours of his plan, it is clear that he will be offering something that no Israeli government can accept.
According to media reports, Obama’s plan will require Israel to withdraw its citizens and its military to the indefensible 1949 armistice lines. It will provide for the free immigration of millions of Israel-hating Arabs to the Palestinian state. And it seeks to represent all of this as in accord with Israel’s interests by claiming that after Israel renders itself indefensible, all 57 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (including Iran) will “normalize” their relations with Israel. In short, Obama is using his peace plan to castigate the Netanyahu government as the chief destabilizing force in the region.
During his meeting with Obama, Netanyahu succeeded in evading the policy traps Obama set for him. Netanyahu reserved Israel’s right to act independently against Iran and he conceded nothing substantive on the Palestinian issue.
While itself no small achievement, Netanyahu’s successful deflection of Obama’s provocations is not a sustainable strategy. Already on Tuesday the administration began coercing Israel to toe its line on Iran and the Palestinians by engaging it in joint “working groups.”
Then, too, the government’s destruction of an outpost community in Judea on Thursday was perceived as Israeli buckling to US pressure. And it doubtlessly raised expectations for further expulsions in the near future.
SO WHAT must Netanyahu do? What would a strategy to contain the Obama administration’s pressure and maintain international attention on Iran look like?
Under the present circumstances, the Netanyahu government’s best bet is to introduce its own peace plan to mitigate the impact of Obama’s plan. To blunt the impact of Obama’s speech in Cairo, Netanyahu should present his peace plan before June 4.
Such a plan should contain three stages. First, in light of the Arab world’s apparent willingness to engage with Israel, Netanyahu should call for the opening of direct talks between Israel and the Arab League, or between Israel and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, regarding the immediate normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab-Islamic world. Both Obama and Jordan’s King Abdullah claim that such normalization is in the offing. Israel should insist that it begin without delay.
This, of course, is necessary for peace to emerge with the Palestinians. As we saw at Camp David in 2000, the only way that Palestinian leaders will feel comfortable making peace with Israel is if the Arab world first demonstrates its acceptance of the Jewish state as a permanent feature on the Middle East’s landscape. Claims that such an Israeli demand is a mere tactic to buy time can be easily brushed off. Given Jordanian and American claims that the Arab world is willing to accept Israel, once negotiations begin, this stage could be completed in a matter of months.
The second stage of the Israeli peace plan would involve Israel and the Arab world agreeing and beginning to implement a joint program for combating terrorism. This program would involve destroying terror networks, cutting off funding for terror networks and agreeing to arrest terrorists and extradite them to The Hague or the US for trial. It should be abundantly clear to all governments in the region that there can be no long-term regional peace or stability as long as terrorists bent on destroying Israel and overthrowing moderate Arab regimes are allowed to operate. So making the implementation of such a join program a precondition for further progress shouldn’t pose an obstacle to peace. Indeed, there is no reason for it to even be perceived as particularly controversial.
The final stage of the Israeli peace plan should be the negotiation of a final-status accord with the Palestinians. Only after the Arab world has accepted Israel, and only after it has agreed to join Israel in achieving the common goal of a terror-free Middle East, can there be any chance that the Palestinians will feel comfortable and free to peacefully coexist with Israel. And Israel, of course, will feel much more confident about living at peace with the Palestinians after the Arab world demonstrates its good faith and friendship to the Jewish state and its people.
Were Netanyahu to offer this plan in the next two weeks, he would be able to elude Obama’s trap on June 4 by proposing to discuss both plans with the Arab League. In so doing, he would be able to continue to make the case that Iran is the gravest danger to the region without being demonized as a destabilizing force and an enemy of peace.
Whether Netanyahu advances such a peace plan or not, what became obvious this week is that his greatest challenges in office will be to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons while preventing the Obama administration from blaming Israel for the absence of peace.

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.

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17 Comments

  • Ted Moran 05/22/2009 at 12:06

    Excellent assessment Caroline. An attack can be the best defense. What you said makes sense, and to wait on Obama to make his pitch on June 4th is only to keep the momentum and direction of events from Israel.
    Not all American’s drank the Obama kool-aid. There are still many of us that see Israel as a beacon of light in the middle east. We know Obama is not an Natural Born American, he is a Muslim and a liar. There is no easy way to put it. If Netanyahu allows Obama to control the process the only thing that can be certain is the isolation of Israel in the international community.
    It makes sense for Israel to isolate America during these talks because Israel cannot trust the administration of the US to defend Israel’s needs and position. In isolating Obama at least Israel has control over the direction and substance of the talks. The benefit is that if the Arabs insist on Obama than this only serves to prove that he is a Muslim.

    Reply
  • Marcel 05/22/2009 at 12:13

    If this were about peace ,a peace plan laid out in stages by Israel would be open to discussion, but it will not even be addressed because the process is all about exterminating Israel in stages.
    What is shocking is that this has always been the plan since Oslo 1993 and yet Israel continues to play this losing game.
    The game is rigged for Israel to lose since before Bush.Obama is only the latest facilitator of this old plan.
    Iran has a faster approach but their agenda now interesect with the that of the west.
    That is why the West has united and chosen a hands off approach on Iran and gather together to squeeze only one neck, the tiny neck of Israel.
    The EU,US And UN tell Israel DAILY how it must die for their peace to succeed.
    Israel must understand that it is not permitted to make any rules in how the final solution Road Map will be implemented.
    Israel has no voice or choice.
    Israel is to follow the orders of her master without question and this is something you still have not realized.
    Will Netanyahu once again prove to be a pushover for the agenda of the evil forces bent on Israel’s destruction ?
    It’s very late but there is still time to relocate the Islamic hordes to Jordan and annex Judea and Samaria. This would send a clear message to all those who interfere with Israel’s sovereignty.
    Sadly Israel’s politicians are too weak and fearful to do what they should have done long,long ago.

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  • Marc Handelsman, USA 05/22/2009 at 12:31

    Unfortunately, a Netanyahu peace plan will not work, as there is no viable peace partner with the PLO. As long as the PLO and Hamas continue to indoctrinate their people with Anti-Semitic programming, no peace will be achieved. As much as Arab governments oppose Iranian hegemony, most Moslems would unite to destroy Israel. President Obama is wasting time trying to bring peace to the Middle East because Arabs refuse to accept Israel as a Jewish nation. Prime Minster Netanyahu needs to reinstate Israel’s strategic deterrent, and warn Iran about consequences.

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  • fxmeaney 05/22/2009 at 13:10

    Brilliant! Who cares about stage 3? I’ll settle for stalling out at stage 2 for a few years.

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  • Toni 05/22/2009 at 13:51

    His Excellency Barrack Benito Mussolini is just following orders from favorite nazi. Is anyone suprised? Lets not let history get that far again. EVER!
    Is there anything we can do on our end to help?

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  • Marcel 05/22/2009 at 15:14

    When will the slaves revolt against their evil Master ?
    The supreme tenet of Israeli defense policy states that Jerusalem must not launch any strategic initiative that stands in contradiction, or places in harm’s way, the clear interests of the United States. This stance has underpinned every fateful decision taken by Israel relating to matters of war and peace. Israel embarked on the Six-Day War only after it was convinced that the U.S. would not oppose. In the hours leading up to the Yom Kippur War, Israel refrained from launching a preemptive strike for fear that Washington would blame it for starting the war. Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 only after Defense Minister Ariel Sharon came under the impression that the U.S. would view the move with understanding. During the first Gulf War in 1991, the U.S. did not permit Israel to respond to Iraqi scud missiles, and Israel obliged.
    If this tenet remains the cornerstone of defense policy, then Israel once again will not act against the explicit wishes of the U.S. Thus, when Israeli leaders say that “all options are open,” this is nothing but a dog’s bark being louder than his bite. Or, if you will, a mouse that roars. If the U.S. does not alter its policy, then Israel no longer has the military option at its disposal – if it ever had such an option at all.
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1087331.html

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  • Philip Safran 05/22/2009 at 16:17

    I have a very good and generous peace plan. It is called the 22 state solution. The Arabs get to keep the 21 nations that comprise over 99.5% of the Middle East (even with the Golan and Judea and Samaria in Israeli hands). Within the context of those 21 nations they can solve the so called Palestinian issue. The Arabs who live in Eretz Yisrael can continue to live there as long as they accept Jewish sovereignty.
    A full scale de Nazification program would be instituted in Judea, Samaria and inside the green line. As a priniple no Jew or Arab willing to live peacefully with their neighbors will be forced out of their homes. When the de Nazification program has made significant progress (probably 2 generations) Arabs within the land of Israel can have a large degree of autonomy.
    Any Arab attacks on Israel will lead to seizure of land from which those attacks came. Any such seizures are not reversible such land will be permanently part of Israel. A widespread death penalty will be in effect for Arab terrorists who murder or attempt to murder. There will be no genocidal savages to later take hostages to trade for.
    Jews will be given full rights to live within the Land of Israel as long as they don’t take private property against the will of the owner.
    During the de Nazification program Judea, Samaria and the Golan will be tax free and tariff free ushering in a huge prosperity for Arabs and Jews alike.

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  • Ron Grandinetti 05/22/2009 at 22:05

    Caroline Israel has only one important obligation
    The obligation to protect her sovereignty and her people and all options need to be on the table.
    Israel does not need Obama or his administrations permission to take whatever action deem necessary for her protection.
    Israel needs to follow its own time table with respects to Iran; she cannot depend on this administrations weak approach to the problem.
    Other governments cannot dictate to Israel terms for peace with the Palestinians.
    It’s complete absurd to expect Israel to give up territory to satisfy another countries wish.
    Samaria, Judea and the Golan Heights should be Israeli territory.
    I believe most Americans support Israel and recognize her as true friend and vital democracy in the ME.
    PM Netanyahu most not give into any of these asinine directives of Obama and company.

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  • Whatexitru 05/23/2009 at 11:34

    I just read your latest article in the JPost, and you are, as usual, right on. The “peace process” will NEVER work because the Arabs do NOT want a “Palestinian State”, they want Israel dead! Make any concession they ask, and it will never be enough. The goal of Iran is to finish what Hitler started. And, news flash, Obama is NOT your friend, he is on the side of Iran (obviously).
    Israel, oh Israel…do not give up even one square inch of the land that God Himself gave you. The dry bones live again, and your nation was born in one day. Believe in the Scriptures, put your trust in God…and prepare for war. Because war is coming, you can’t avoid it. The Old Testament Prophets saw this day, and have been warning you for over 2,000 years. Its here, its now…when all the nations of the world will come against you. But your God, He will fight for you!
    “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

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  • Whatexitru 05/23/2009 at 11:35

    I just read your latest article in the JPost, and you are, as usual, right on. The “peace process” will NEVER work because the Arabs do NOT want a “Palestinian State”, they want Israel dead! Make any concession they ask, and it will never be enough. The goal of Iran is to finish what Hitler started. And, news flash, Obama is NOT your friend, he is on the side of Iran (obviously).
    Israel, oh Israel…do not give up even one square inch of the land that God Himself gave you. The dry bones live again, and your nation was born in one day. Believe in the Scriptures, put your trust in God…and prepare for war. Because war is coming, you can’t avoid it. The Old Testament Prophets saw this day, and have been warning you for over 2,000 years. Its here, its now…when all the nations of the world will come against you. But your God, He will fight for you!
    “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

    Reply
  • Butcher Boy 05/24/2009 at 2:05

    I think that Chairman Obama Hussein should put down his copy of Mein Kemf and start reading the scriptures where he will find out the answer to the Israeli-Palestinian issue. I knew when he bowed down to a Saudi king where his allegiance was. Natenyahus meeting with Chairman O was akin to King Soloman trying to reason with Howdy Doody.

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  • Ron Kilmartin 05/24/2009 at 5:10

    Clare M. Lopez of the Center for Security Policy produced an excellent document “Rise of the ‘Iran Lobby’ – Tehran’s front groups move on – and into – the Obama Administration” (2/09). It can be downloaded here:
    http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/p17907.xml
    The extent of this lobby is breathtaking. Besides the usual clutter of Islamofascist organizations she names sympathizers in the State and Defense Departments and Congress and a number of oil companies, among others; The Iran Lobby’s main aim is to prevent America from attacking Iran (and by implication restraining Israel from doing so).
    Lopez cites a particularly revealing quote from Obama that is on record, describing Israel as “This constant sore [that] affects all our foreign policy”. Obama reveals here his personal anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist bent, as Israel has never been regarded as a “sore” by the American people, or the American people’s government in Washington, at least until Obama came along.
    Obama’s extreme leftwing baggage has brought some ideas he did not tell us about, including his plan to engage Iran, and throw Israel under the bus. On the other hand he has told us about his plan for an interior security force as large as our armed services, presumably to chase down and inter or ‘liquidate’ dissidents, and his plan to destroy the capitalist economy with fascistic controls and energy shackles, and build a socialist utopia on the ashes.
    It is also noteworthy that Obama is following the socialist Cloward-Priven strategy of “orchestrated crisis” with his rapid-fire broadside attacks on American industry and financial firms. The crisis atmosphere generated in Washington by the daily issuance of opinionated speeches and new orders from the White House is designed to overload the people’s ability (and the media’s) to process and digest the output. It is a reasonable assumption that he is planning to use the international financial crisis, the Middle East crisis, The Afghan-Pak crisis and the North Korean crisis to further his agenda.
    Netanyahu stuck boldly to his principles in his meeting with Obama. I like the idea of him coming out with a pre-emptive plan that would frame Obama’s much tooted and sophomoric speech to the Muslim world, but it should be one without even the aroma of appeasement in any provisions. Netanyahu should concede nothing. Israel must always frame any negotiations in the sunlight of awareness of the Islamic model peace treaty: Hudaybiyya. “Peace” lasts only until the Islamists are ready to fight again. Obama and his Iran lobby friends do not understand this and never will. But Israel must recognize this guideline and never yield land needed for defense, or options to defend itself. Certainly Obama’s scheme to give the Iranians 7 months to come to the table is naïve on the face of it, especially in view of intel that the nuclear capability may be achieved in advance of that schedule.
    Ron Kilmartin

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  • Marcel 05/24/2009 at 7:48

    Israel is mentally and spiritually sick.
    This is evident by it’s defense minister Ehud Barak attacking the host state instead of the cancer that endangers the nation.
    To drive out their own citizens from their land and homes but not those who work day and night for Israel’s destruction is a terminal illness.
    The sick Jews like Ehud Barak assume that their suicidal impulses will gain the love and admiration of the wicked and perverted nations.
    In fact this cannibalistic madness has the opposite effect as Israel and the Jew are hated more. I believe the cause is a direct consequence of their self loathing unJewish behavior.
    After all the painful sacrifices Israel has done for this pretend peace it and the Jews are more despised that the Sudanese moslems who drove the people of Darfur out of their homes and villages.
    If the perverted world is going to hate Jews shouldn’t it be for removing the abomination which sits proudly on the most holy site of the Jewish people and for driving out of Israel the mad,blood lust followers of the false prophet mohammed and his moon god and not abusing fellow Jews as the kapo’s did ?
    Why do you treat this enemy better than you treat your own ? You have not yet done to them what you do to your own people although they are much more deserving.
    The future looks bleak for these self abusing Jews who outdo Esau and betray their birthright for nothing in return by attacking their fellow Jews and not the enemy in their midst.
    Ehud Barak has brought a curse on himself according to Genesis 12:3 because of his cursed and evil work against am Yisrael

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  • enda00 05/24/2009 at 18:43

    Hi Caroline, I think your assessment of the press conference was pretty accurate. But your negativity about Obama’s “obsessive” push for a peace plan is a tired argument nobody wants to hear anymore. With Obama in power, Israel can’t and won’t be able to act unilaterally on Iran or its settlements in the West Bank. The wind of World opinion is blowing firmly against Israel on both of these issues. The world doesn’t want another expensive and unneccessary war with Iran. The only ‘coalition of the willing’ is the one hoping that Obama continues to hold Israel morally responsible for its actions. I suspect quite a few Israels hope so too, given the very right center of gravity to which your country has shifted politically.

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  • ccbrundage 05/24/2009 at 21:20

    I am a Christian in the US and I have followed Israel’s history since the 50’s with interest and with admiration for the courage and determination with which Israelis built their country.
    I was heartsick to find out that Jews in the US were voting for Obama – I knew immediately he was not a friend of Israel, in fact, I think he is your enemy. He will do nothing to stand with you against Iran – I fear his bias is towards Islam. I hope Israel will do whatever it needs to, to protect itself and ignore what comes out of the White House.

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  • Marcel 05/25/2009 at 7:23

    enema00 wrote:
    The wind of World opinion is blowing firmly against Israel on both of these issues. The world doesn’t want another expensive and unneccessary war with Iran.
    You speak as if you and your punk Obama are God… or is this a follower of the false prophet Mohammed and the loser moslems who can’t seem to defeat tiny Israel after so many wars ?
    The fools think they are in control.
    Maybe North Korea will start your unnecessary war ?
    “Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat;
    For there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations.
    Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe.
    Come, go down;
    For the winepress is full,
    The vats overflow–
    For their wickedness is great.”
    Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!
    For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
    The sun and moon will grow dark,
    And the stars will diminish their brightness.
    The LORD also will roar from Zion,
    And utter His voice from Jerusalem;
    The heavens and earth will shake;
    But the LORD will be a shelter for His people,
    And the strength of the children of Israel.
    Joe 3:17
    “So you shall know that I am the LORD your God,
    Dwelling in Zion My holy mountain.
    Then Jerusalem shall be holy,
    And no aliens shall ever pass through her again.”

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  • DaveP 05/31/2009 at 9:24

    Pres Obama wants Israel to stop building or extending settlements- all settlements and all activity. Period. What does Israel get in return? Well, there are those lovely hand shakes on the White House lawn, maybe a cessation of rocket activity for a few weeks. So what is Israel waiting for?
    I’m glad to hear that PM Netanyahu has rejected Pres Obama’s demands. The US will soon find that, it is not just Israel that is dependent on US goodwill, but the US is dependent on Israeli goodwill as well. Without Israeli goodwill, the US cannot get any concessions from Israel, and therefore becomes of no use to the Arabs. In essence, the US needs a strong Israel, with lots of goodies to potentially give away, but never but never, have nothing to give away. If that situation ever transpires, US influence in the ME will drop to nothing.

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