Saturday, August 22, 2009

Obama Fracturing Israel-USA Relations

Actions Obama has taken have made the Israeli government 'nervous' and strained relations on the government level, but now there is word that he is alienating a strong majority of the Israeli people. In doing so, he may actually be hurting the peace process.

"The Washington Post confirms what's been obvious for months -- Obama's insistence on a total settlement freeze has undermined his popularity among Israelis, caused the nation to rally around Prime Minister Netanyahu, and removed the U.S. (at least for now) as a serious force in the so-called peace process.

The magnitude of these "accomplishments" is difficult to overstate. As the Post observes, Israeli leaders have always been reluctant to break publicly with a U.S. president for the very good reason that Israelis pretty much demand that their leaders keep relations with the U.S. on a strong footing. Netanyahu himself was "punished" by Israeli voters when he failed to maintain good relations with President Clinton, the Post recalls.

But the unreasonableness of Obama's demand for a freeze on even "natural growth" construction in core settlements, coupled with his opposition to the building of fewer a relatively small number of apartment units in East Jerusalem, has changed the dynamic drastically. As we have noted, a July poll showed that 60 percent of Israelis don't trust Obama. Meanwhile, according to the Post, Netanyahu's decision to oppose Obama on settlements commands "overwhelming" support.
But the most damning bit of information, in Obama's own terms, is the fact that until late last year, the Palestinians were negotiating with Israel despite ongoing construction in the West Bank. Dan Meridor, Israel's intelligence minister, argues that the White House, by publicly demanding a total settlement freeze, caused the Palestinians to walk away from peace talks. It may be that the causation runs the other way, i.e., that the Palestinians were the prime movers, convincing Obama to place demands on Israel that President Bush had not, and then walking away in order to see whether Israel would knuckle under.

In either scenario, Obama has played this very badly. If most Israelis don't trust him, he has very little chance of advancing the "peace process.""

1 comment:

  1. The white house says that the US President Barrack obama would visit India upcoming months. The White House Press Secretary told that he knows that the president would travel India at some point of time. As a response to this Robert Gibbs told the reporters in his daily briefing on 31st of July that he doesn’t have any plan scheduled for the President moving to India in next 3 months .Later this year on November the Indian Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh is visiting United States as a state visit.


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