Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Obama Meets Netanyahu

President Barack Obama's meeting with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not go well. Netanyahu told an aide Obama is "childish and stupid." Obama is many things. The Ivy league graduate known for never losing his cool is not "childish or stupid." Publicly, Obama and Netanyahu were reserved towards each other. Netanyahu said he is willing talk peace with the Palestinians. He avoided any mention of a Palestinian state.

Privately, Netanyahu told Obama the only way to achieve peace with the Palestinians is to deal with Iran. America Pro-Israel groups made the argument toplling Saddam Hussein would bring peace to Iraq. This was the prediction of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.

Loyalists: Many Fatah and Palestinian Authority officials still support Arafat in whatever he wants, or at least will do nothing against his will.

Militants: A group with a big base of support in Fatah believes that a violent revolution against Israel is the way to obtain an independent state and everything else they want. Many of these people are ready to work with Hamas toward this end.

Moderates: The smallest group has concluded that the intifada is a failure and must be ended, wish to reduce Arafat's power and are willing to try to negotiate a compromise peace with Israel. And even Abu Mazin has his heart set on a "right of return" which would probably make a peace deal impossible.

Netanyahu made repeated efforts to change the subject of a two-state solution. Privately, every time Obama brought up a Palistinian state, Netanyahu changed the subject to Iran. Many neoconservative-leaning politicians buy this bunk. "[T]he path to future success for Israel will not be an easy one, and there will be a number of difficult issues. Foremost on many minds, is, of course, Iran," Sen. John McCain said.

Obama made it clear the building of new Israeli settlements has to stop. The settlements encroach on Palestinian terrotories and become occupied by Israeli religious zealots looking for violence. The settlement building in Hebron has been a disaster. Israeli soldier Mikhael Manekin has come forward to talk about Hebron.

Obama on the building of new settlements.

OBAMA: Now, Israel is going have to take some difficult steps as well. And I shared with Prime Minister the fact that, under the road map, under Annapolis there’s a clear understanding that we have to make progress on settlements, that settlements have to be stopped in order for us to move forward. That’s a difficult thing to recognize, but it’s an important one. And it has to be addressed. I think the humanitarian situation in Gaza has to be addressed.

The Israelis approved the builing of a settlement in the northern West Bank on the eve of Netanyahu's visit to Washington. The Israelis haven't built a settlement in that part of the West Bank in 26 years.

Israelis and Palistinians know the only way to achieve peace is a two-state solution. Factions on both sides go out of their way to point blame elsewhere instead of taking responsibility. The Israeli government can find new Arab countries to blame. (See: Syria) Hamas can can recite anti-American rants to help their fundraising. That isn't going to end the occupied territories or violence. Ever.

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