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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

STILL TENSE: Obama-Netanyahu Meeting At White House Closed To Reporters

I equate the way Israelis treat Palestians with how Germans treated the Jews. Set up ghettos and when the caged people throw rocks (or rockets) then go in with force. That one Jewish life seems to be far more valuable than a Palestinian goes against everything idea America is built on.
Ain't that the truth
I just bet the meeting will be closed to reporters, who can stomach Netanyahu, obviously not the Leader Of The Free World from the look on his face, speaks volumes.
AP) WASHINGTON - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is criss-crossing the Washington power grid Tuesday, striving to explain his country's position in a widening debate over its plans to construct new housing in east Jerusalem.
Netanyahu had a Capitol Hill meeting scheduled with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., a day after holding talks with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. He plans to meet later Tuesday at the White House with President Barack Obama.
Netanyahu has been trying to deflect U.S. criticism of his government's announcement of plans for 1,600 housing units in a part of Jerusalem that Palestinians claim as their own. He bluntly asserted before the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee Monday that "Jerusalem is not a settlement. It's our capital."
The plan has drawn sharp criticism from the Obama administration. Clinton told a pro-Israel audience Monday that provocative Israeli land policies in areas claimed by the Palestinians are not in Israel's long-term interests and undermine U.S. credibility as a mediator in the Mideast peace process.
Obama has remained out of the fray as Clinton and other U.S. officials have rebuked Israel for its announcement of new construction in east Jerusalem, which came while Vice President Joe Biden was visiting the country. The announcement embarrassed Biden, a staunch supporter of Israel, and led to new stress in relations between Washington and its top Middle Eastern ally.
Obama agreed to see Netanyahu on Tuesday at the White House -- Obama's first meeting with the Israeli leader since the severe diplomatic breach. But the meeting will be closed to reporters, an unusual choice when hosting a close ally and a sign that suggested the rift may not be entirely healed. LinkHere
Though many expected him to deliver a more measured response in the wake of last week’s very public row with the United States, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered another angry rebuke to the Obama Administration over the settlement expansion which stalled the US brokered indirect peace talks.
Netanyahu declared that the settlements in occupied East Jerusalem weren’t technically settlements at all, because “everyone knows” that Jerusalem will be the eternal and undivided capital of Israel. Israel invaded and occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, along with the rest of the West Bank, and its legal control over the territory has never been established in international law.
But this did not stop Netanyahu from declaring that Israel had been “unjustly accused of not wanting peace” because of the settlement expansion, which killed the peace talks. Netanyahu insisted that his government has consistently shown a commitment to peace “from day one” and that it was only the Palestinians who were holding up the process.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will use a visit to Washington this week to press the U.S. to release advanced weapons needed for a possible strike on Iran's nuclear sites, the Sunday Times reported. Ahead of his departure Sunday night, Netanyahu bowed to U.S. demands and promised the administration of U.S President Barack Obama that Israel will make several goodwill gestures toward the Palestinians. For the first time since Operation Cast Lead, Israel has agreed to ease the blockade on the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu has also agreed to discuss all core issues during the proximity talks, with the condition of reaching final conclusions only in direct talks with the PA.
But according to the London weekly, Netanyahu will also seek returns for the concessions, asking Israel's closest ally to provide the IAF with sophisticated 'bunker-buster' bombs needed to break through to Iran's nuclear enrichment installations, many of which are buried underground. Israel and the West accuse Iran of using its enrichment program to build a nuclear bomb, a charge Tehran denies. Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, is believed to have refused previous Israeli requests for the GBU-28 bombs, as well as for upgraded refuelling tanker aircraft that would enable a long-range airstrike on Iran. But Netanyahu may have a tough task before him in persuading Obama to arm Israel for a strike and current U.S. strategy appears to favor a diplomatic, rather than a military, solution to the Iran's dispute with the West. LinkHere

Bibi’s Bluster
The Israeli Prime Minister says his nation's security is his top priority. Too bad he's undermining it.
By Fareed Zakaria NEWSWEEK
In international relations, whenever you hear the term "confidence-building measures," you can be sure that someone is trying to kick a can down the road. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu has now promised to offer such measures to the Palestinians. He has also urged that everyone "calm down" about the diplomatic row between his government and the United States.
But this crisis hasn't been caused by just one event—the announcement, while Vice President Joe Biden was visiting Israel, to approve new Jewish housing units in East Jerusalem. It caps a year of increasingly strained relations between Washington and Tel Aviv. And while he's apologized for the ill-timed announcement, Netanyahu remains unyielding. In fact, the Israeli press has reported plans to build not merely the 1,600 units announced last week, but 50,000. "We will act according to the vital interests of the state of Israel," Netanyahu said last week.
What are those vital interests? If you have listened to Bibi Netanyahu over the past few years, it's clear what tops the list—Iran. In fact, the prime minister has described the Iranian threat as an existential one for Israel, and a grave one for the world. He sees combating it as the central challenge of our times. "We are faced with security challenges that no other country faces, and our need to provide a response to these is critical, and we are answering the call," Netanyahu told his Likud faction in May 2009. "These are not regular times. The danger is hurtling toward us. My job is first and foremost to ensure the future of the state of Israel."
But after watching Netanyahu's government over the past year, I have concluded that he is actually not serious about the Iranian threat. If tackling the rise of Iran were his paramount concern, would he have allowed a collapse in relations with the United States, the country whose military, political, and economic help is indispensable in confronting this challenge? If taking on Iran were his central preoccupation, wouldn't he have subordinated petty domestic considerations and done everything to bolster ties with the United States? Bibi likes to think of himself as Winston Churchill, warning the world of a gathering storm. But he should bear in mind that Churchill's single obsession during the late 1930s was to strengthen his alliance with the United States, whatever the costs, concessions, and compromises he had to make.
In a smart piece of analysis in Israel's Haaretz newspaper, Anshel Pfeffer, no fan of the Obama administration, writes, "When senior ministers or generals list Israel's defense priorities, there is always one point on which there exists total consensus: The alliance with the United States as the nation's greatest strategic asset, way above anything else. It is more crucial than the professionalism of the Israel Defense Forces, than the peace treaty with Egypt and even than the secret doomsday weapons that we may or may not have squirreled away somewhere…But [Netanyahu] has succeeded in one short year in power to plunge Israel's essential relationship with the United States to unheard of depths." LinkHere


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