Obama’ visit: Embrace the victory of politics over substance – Opinion – Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper

March 18, 2013

Given American (and European) refusal to directly deploy the considerable leverage at their disposal to push Israel to de-occupation, it is better if the President not insist on the immediate resumption of bilateral Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Israeli impunity and maximalism combined with the asymmetry between the parties – exacerbated rather than mitigated by U.S. policy – guarantees that renewed direct negotiations will do more harm than good, further convincing the respective publics that a deal is impossible. No wonder Naftali Bennet (and Hamas) see no threat in further negotiations, even with Minister Livni at the helm.

What then is left for a visiting President to do? Some cling to the notion that more American assurances and carrots will encourage Israel on the road to peace. That is farcical. The juiciest economic, military and diplomatic carrots have already been conferred on Israel irrespective of its entrenchment of occupation or violations of international law. No American carrot will induce Naftali Bennett or Uri Ariel, or Netanyahu and his faction of annexationists to abandon the settlements. So if the President is unwilling to change the rules of the game, better that he go with the flow, that he embrace and own the primacy of the political in this relationship. He can dust-off and re-tool part of the Clinton playbook of the 1990’s for engineering Israeli politics.

And that is probably what Obama’s visit should and in fact may start to do. By speaking directly to Israelis, including at an especially convened event in Jerusalem, Obama is doing something he avoided in his first term: He is accumulating some personal credit in the bank with the Israeli public. He should be looking to create an opportunity during his second term to draw on that deposit by building toward a clear moment of decision for Israel on the terms of reference for a two-state deal, notably a territorial resolution based on the 1967 lines with equal and minimal land swaps.

via Obama’ visit: Embrace the victory of politics over substance – Opinion – Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper.

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Israeli leftists, stop fantasizing – Opinion – Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper

March 18, 2013

In his Jerusalem speech, Obama needs to tell the Israeli left the truth: The change must come from within, from the influence on public opinion and voters’ attitudes. Instead of making the mistake of believing in outside pressure, learn from the settlers how a small and determined group can connect with the mainstream and divert the public’s beliefs for its own purposes.

via Israeli leftists, stop fantasizing – Opinion – Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper.


Ahead of Israel visit, Obama tells US Jewish leaders prospects for Mideast peace are bleak – The Washington Post

March 16, 2013

President Barack Obama told American Jewish leaders Thursday that near-term prospects for Mideast peace are bleak, downplaying expectations of a breakthrough during his highly anticipated trip to Israel and the West Bank later this month.

Obama emphasized that his intention was not to deliver a “grand peace plan,” according to a person who attended the hourlong private meeting at the White House. But the president said that doesn’t preclude him from launching such an effort in the coming months, the person said, and made clear that peace with the Palestinians was the only way for Israel to achieve long-term security.

via Ahead of Israel visit, Obama tells US Jewish leaders prospects for Mideast peace are bleak – The Washington Post.


One meeting won’t fix things between Obama and Netanyahu. Here’s what might. – The Washington Post

March 16, 2013

Previously, the most dysfunctional relationship had been between George H.W. Bush and Yitzhak Shamir. During their first meeting, the prime minister told Bush that West Bank settlements wouldn’t be a problem; the president thought that meant construction would stop. When Shamir expanded them, Bush believed he had lied. But their relationship improved when the prime minister, in response to American requests, did not retaliate against Iraqi Scud missiles fired during the Gulf war

 

 If Netanyahu wants to be remembered as more than a do-nothing prime minister, and if Obama wants to avoid being the American president on whose watch Iran gets the bomb and the two-state solution expires, they’ll have to cooperate. 

via One meeting won’t fix things between Obama and Netanyahu. Here’s what might. – The Washington Post.


IDF probe: 80 bullets fired without justification in death of West Bank Palestinian – Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper

March 16, 2013

IDF probe: 80 bullets fired without justification in death of West Bank Palestinian

Investigation finds no reason to use live ammunition in the November shooting death of Rushdie Tamimi, 31, in Nabi Saleh, in the West Bank.

via IDF probe: 80 bullets fired without justification in death of West Bank Palestinian – Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper.


IDF kills teenager in West Bank, fourth Palestinian death in a week – Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper

March 16, 2013

A 16-year-old Palestinian was killed by Israel Defense Forces fire on Tuesday near the village of Budrus in the West Bank, Palestinian sources said.

According to the reports, the youth, Samir Awad, was shot four times and hit in his torso and legs.

Awad is the fourth Palestinian killed by IDF fire in recent days.

via IDF kills teenager in West Bank, fourth Palestinian death in a week – Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper.


Americans’ Sympathies for Israel Match All-Time High

March 16, 2013

Americans’ sympathies lean heavily toward the Israelis over the Palestinians, 64% vs. 12%. Americans’ partiality for Israel has consistently exceeded 60% since 2010; however, today’s 64% ties the highest Gallup has recorded in a quarter century, last seen in 1991 during the Gulf War.

via Americans’ Sympathies for Israel Match All-Time High.