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Obama-Netanyahu meeting – what the public saw…

May 19, 2009

One of the most closely watched meetings for decades between an Israeli Prime Minister and a US President took place yesterday when Messrs. Obama and Netanyahu sat together at the White House.

The two men met for two hours - during which time Obama pressed the ‘two state solution’ to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on a reluctant Netanyahu, while Netanyahu underlined his belief that Iran was a more pressing concern than Palestinian statehood.

White House watchers pointed out that 2 hours is a long meeting by Preisdential standards and also that the body language of the two men as they sat together suggested none of the fireworks that some had predicted went off in the private encounter.

Here’s a video report on the public comments made by the two leaders as they finished up their marathon chinwag.


Israel’s Haaretz newspaper has a full transcript of the Q&A here.


Dear sirs once again we see the belligerant Israeli leader trying to dictate the now the terms for the peace in the middle east by foreverthe trying to link it with some other international concern like that of Iran’s development of nuclear energy for peaceful means. Werent the Israelis also keen on bombing Iraq to smitthereens.Theres no doubt they were there, if only in the shadows of the background.Even nowBenyamin cannot utter the words of recognition of a two state solution! Who is he fooling he is clearly not going give back territory unless compelled by his masters USA. In the meeting with Obama his body language clearly demonstates awkwardness in appreciating what the international community wants from can he possibly give away his dreams of a greater Israel. The Zionist regime continues to subjugate the Palestinians by whatever means it takes. The present government is hardly going give anything unless more pressure is brought to bear and if that means the fragile coalition not being able govern then so be it. Come on Tzipi see if you can do better?

Posted by Azam Hasan | Report as abusive

one thing to note here is that the two state solution is one that might put a lasting peace on the fracas between the two countries…i laud Obama’s option for the two state solution. Netanyahu needs not to be reluctant because enough is enough. i understand that israel has a point they are proving to the world about them being the origina1l owners and settelers of the Gaza strip if we tend to go into history. but we need to do away with the past in order to have a future. if the two state thing will end all hostilities that is affecting the children and women in the west bank, then let human feelings and conscience be the yard stick to all decisions to be made. the Pope has said it all. the pontiff critically analysed it and came up with the notion that a two state solution will best solve the problem….

Posted by nick | Report as abusive

In press coverage world-wide (not Reuters)it would appear that the Israeli PM completely dominated the agenda and succeeded in detracting from the main issue at hand. This main issue is securing peace by removing the main cause of all trouble in the Middle East, namely a just solution also for the Palestinians. If a two-state solution appears as a just solution also to Israel’s Arab neighbours, then they should have little cause for demonizing Israel. This should take a lot of the wind out of the sails of Hamas, Hizbollah, Al Queda and Iran. Any continued aggressive posturing by Iran and their charming President would then put Iran in even a more unfavourable light. In this scenario, it should be easier to finalize peace talks with Syria and pacify both Hizbollah and of course the radical forces inside the Palestinian Areas -not only Hamas.
Netanyahu’s Iran threat is first of all an excuse for once again delaying the completion of a lasting peace for his own people, because it would be politically difficult- not least for the son of a professor of Jewish History who was taught that most of present day Israel plus parts of the neighbouring lands were given the Jews by God. Why does the rest of the world (who weren’t so privileged) have to put up with the cost of such folly?
Let’s hope Lieberman pulls out, the coalition topples and a new one is formed with Kadima so that the Israeli people can get a government who can do the “sensible thing” and not once more “take the opportunity to pass up the opportunity” for peace -to misquote an unnamed famous Middle East peace mediator.

Posted by Daffy | Report as abusive

I agree with both Azam and Nick. Just a clarification to Nick’s comment about the history. Old testament is NOT history. It is a religious book without documentation and with many contradictions- like most other scriptures. So to have a claim based on a book that has been written by your own people for your own people is not acceptable unless you’re a believer of that religion. Obviously Palestinians who have lived there for many many generations do not accept this claim. And they should be the one that matter legally and morally. This is not much different from Europeans claiming the Americas and killing off the natives. Of course they too had the right based on their Christian beliefs. What a cruel joke!

Posted by Nick 2 | Report as abusive

The Palestinians are not ready for a two state solution while Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist group, is entrenched as their political leader. Bombs continue to fall into Israel daily although the international media fails to report the strikes. Hamas successfully smuggles bombs into Gaza. The Palestinians won’t release their one, long-held hostage Gilead Shalit, until Israel agrees to release all Palestinian prisoners. It’s not even clear that the Palestinians want a two state solution. Since they know the Israelis are reluctant, the Palestinians can urge such a solution and look sincere, knowing that Israel will not agree to a plan until they receive back Mr. Shalit and bombing stops. Don’t let anyone forget that it was PLO leader Yassar Arafat who turned down Israel’s offer of land and the right to self-government (in return for peace) years ago.

Posted by Dale Robinson | Report as abusive

Why must the jews continue to overrun, control and steal land and best water rights, de3stroy farms, and treat others so poorly. Is that any of gods’s doing. It is mans doing and doing over and over. These Pals are imprisoned! Get real here.
Iran is who it is and Isreal is just crying a side game.

Posted by Karol | Report as abusive

In opinion polls, the Palestinians apparently want peace with Israel. Just like the Israeli people apparently want peace more than their politicians do.
Listen to the people.

One Israeli “hostage” in Gaza vs. over a thousand imprisoned Palestinians in Israel.
Where is the balance, where is proportionality?

Yes thousands of rockets have been launched from Gaza into Israel (over many years now), and yes this is terrifying, but how many have been killed by these rockets? Hardly a single one apparently, whilst maybe 1000 Gaza’ns were killed just a few months ago, in a raid that achieved hardly anything of lasting military value.

The arguments launched by Dale Robinson here are mere excuses for not engaging.
If he were a Palestinian, I guess he would see things differently, and would have little cause to trust the Israelis.
However, the peoples of both countries/states want peace and are apparently willing to look beyond both small and significantly larger matters/grievances to achieve this. In a historical perspective a nation would be judged as ridicolously unrealstic if it chooses to bicker over one hostage and passes up an opportunity for lasting peace.

Posted by Daffy | Report as abusive

Look, Israel is the rogue state. They have almost 200 nuclear warheads and won’t allow the IAEA inspect their nuclear facilities. Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and allows some inspections of it’s nuclear facilities. Iran hasn’t invaded another country in hundreds of years, while Israel has invaded everyone of it’s neighbors several times in the past four decades. The Israelis have also killed hundreds, if not thousands of innocent Palestinians and Lebanese. Why does the U.S. allow Israel to have nuclear weapons, having shown no restraint over the years, while no other country in the Middle East is allowed to have them?

Posted by Stephen Kriz | Report as abusive

I think Dale has it right… and Daffy?.. well the name speaks for itself, doesnt it..

The world is destined to re-live (and re-live, and re-live) history. Too many people feel and do not think. Peace has a price, and one side needs to win. As I recall (for those of you who were not around, or just have very short memories), right when President Clinton was to close the deal to get his nobel prize, giving the Palestinians a very generous deal at great Israeli expense, old Arafat stabbed him in the back. And now Hamas makes Yassar look like a trusted partner.. The Palistiniants are not trusted negotiators.

Posted by Neo | Report as abusive

The parties in this conflict have been engaged long enough to know that they are ready to die for their beliefs. They are dedicated to what they believe is success. Both positions are untenable according to the teachings of Tzun Tzu. “A General ready to die for his country can be killed.” I know this is a strech but if you will entertain my logic for a moment. This could mean that war is inevitable. We should start a war crimes investigation and arrest those implicated. The people there have clearly stated a desire for war but the governments cannot seem to wrap their blood soaked brains around it. I think we have a large group of people who want to live in peace but the leaders aren’t responding to their desires. This is another form of tyranny. The children are dying, mothers, sons. Can we not respond to their crys for peace?

Posted by Ron from Elk PA | Report as abusive

Billions of dollars have been given to the PA over the years and yet NOTHING has been built. They have provided no hospitals for their people, cronyism and corruption remain rampant, Palestinians attack Israelis daily and Arabs in general won’t even stay in the same room when an Israeli gets up to speak and this is what call peace loving people. Children and adults HAVE died and been maimed as a result of what Daffy obviously considers to be puny rockets in addition to her ignoring all the trauma that thousands of Israelis have been put through living for years with rockets landing in their cities daily. These families often have to sleep every night in one room all together because of their fears over the puny rockets Daffy casually dismisses. Let us also remember the Israelis left Gaza on their own, leaving behind beautiful buildings and a $14 million greenhouse which was specially provided to the Gazans by int’l philanthropists. They were all looted, burned and destroyed in one day. The Palestinians do not want a state (they’ve already turned it down repeatedly), they just want to find another way of getting closer to their ultimate goal, the destruction of Israel, the homeland the Jews have lived in for thousands of years and which is undeniably holier to Jews than it is to Arabs.

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

It is not Israel that rules,
it is Wall Street that pulls the strings

Posted by ng | Report as abusive

The land of Israel belong to modern days Israelis because they say so. Not only because of Old Testaments. By the way, it is the same reason why Sweden belongs to Swedes and China belongs to Chinese. Since 1948 Israelis have won numerous wars (and will win if necessary many more) to support their claim to this land. Tree generations of Israelis have been born there and they are there to stay and to live in a Jewish state. If Palestinians want peace and want to have their own state alongside of Israel they need to drop their demand for the so called “right of return” which is considering demographics is totally unacceptable to the Israelis.

Posted by Henry | Report as abusive

People in Israel are living under rockets – sirens go on constantly and civilian people: elders, children … must rush into shelters. Several times per day for many YEARS, The city of Sderot had to create a second anti-rocket roofs over the buildings. People live in constant fear… Israel many times asked to stop rockets. Nobody listened. In Dec.25 2008 more then 80 rockets were fired in one day. Olmert warned ,that if Israel would start it’s response it would result in many casualties. Nobody listened… An opposite: Hamas wanted to provoke military offensive. Hamas made (as usual) everything to inflict as many civilian casualties in Gaza as possible To show to the “International Community” the cruelty of Zionists…
Daffy,when you say “how many was killed in Israel ?” – is really at least cynic.
Israel would long ago accepted 2 states solution if she would be confident that the other party really wants that.
In reality, if you are honest with yourself, all Arabs want 1 state only solution , without Israel.
It was before 1947 and after. All the time everything is done to destroy the only Jewish country in the world and create one more Arabic country.
The Iranian “peaceful” nuclear threat coupled with demands of the Iranian President to destroy Israel is of real concern to people of Israel.
And anti-Israel forces (so called “International Community”) around the world see this threat as a tool for eliminating Israel.

Posted by Greg Feldman | Report as abusive

There will be no peace in the middle-east no matter what our narcissistic president tries.

Posted by Scott | Report as abusive

Obama is testing the waters here..onces he has the clear picture of isreali view point,which i m sure he does after the metting.he will decide, to give them a carrot or the he can’t risk attacking iran on the words of isreal gov..

As isreal gov singing the song of iran.obama is singing his own song about settlements.onces minister leaves USA.then we will see obama’s way of dealing with them.

Posted by Junaid | Report as abusive

Two state Solution will be a disaster… There is no way Israeli Zionists will give up any land for peace, they showed no willingness to do that, and NO GAZA was not an example. All they did there is relocate and force the Palestinians to a prison camp. The best solution which Israel has to agree on either today peacfully or be forced to do so in the near future is to give up the Dream of a Jew only state, recognize the Palestinian right to their homes and share it in ONE State, if that does not happen at the rate the Palestinians are growing there will not be any more israel in less than 20 years.
Israel is already declining in population, and not too many Jews are coming “Home” All the Palestinians have to do is continue to be productive and they are, so if Bibi had any brains he will go for the ONE state solution.

Posted by Abu Sabir | Report as abusive

Nick2 posted:

Old testament is NOT history. It is a religious book without documentation and with many contradictions- like most other scriptures.

Interestingly enough Islam accepts the Old Testament as a holy book.

Stephen, youposted the following:

Israel is the rogue state. They have almost 200 nuclear warheads and won’t allow the IAEA inspect their nuclear facilities. Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and allows some inspections of it’s nuclear facilities. Iran hasn’t invaded another country in hundreds of years, while Israel has invaded everyone of it’s neighbors several times in the past four decades.

The US does not allow IAEA inspectors to inspect its sites neither. Does that make the US a rogue state?

Second you posted that Israle has invaded it’s neighbours several times in the last decades. This is not true and just displays your ignorance. Israel acquired the land it now has through wars that were started by the Arabs surrounding them. Two exceptions to this. THe Lebanon war which they started to try to eliminate Hezbollah from Lebanon. Even this case you can say that Hezbollah started the war by firing rockets into Israel and by invading Israel’s land to kidnap soldiers. THe other case is where their Arab neighbours were preparing and ready to invade and Israels preempted them.

Posted by Stephen Donaldson | Report as abusive

The God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob says: I will bless those who bless you(Israel)and I will curse those who curse you. The current land of Israel and FAR more in the Middle East belongs not only to the Jewish people but first to the only true God who calls it HIS. Be against the Jewish people and the dividing of GOD’s land at your own peril. God Bless the Jewish people. Obama may be very intelligent, but he lacks wisdom. Obama and other world leaders do, too. The Jewish people do not need the world behind them. They have their God. A Concerned Christian who loves the Jewish People.

Posted by Robin | Report as abusive

In addition to all of the hatred, antisemitism, and bigotry that many of the posters to this blog are posting, those who wish to bash Israel here are very misinformed. Israel stands as a beacon for democracy, tolerance, and acceptance in a boiling pot for hatred and extremism. There are many Arab citizens of Israel that enjoy the freedoms all Israeli citizens have to offer, and live peacefully with their Jewish and Christian neighbors. Due to the bombs, rockets, shootings, maiming, and kidnapping of their soldiers and citizens, Israel has had to take a tougher stand on those who perpetrate this violence; the violent Arabs (not referring to them all, just the ones who are violent), to keep their citizens safe. I invite all the posters here who believe that Israel is in the wrong to try to imagine what it would be like to be scared to walk in the street or go to the mall and be scared of being blown up. Or, better yet, imagine seeing your mother or sister in a hospital bed with shrapnel all over their bodies because the bomb that exploded only inches from them was loaded with nails to inflict maximum damage. Perhaps then you will rethink your position.

Posted by Elimelech | Report as abusive

is anyone can tell me the different between holocust and gaza killings + lebanon destruction + occupy syria + occupy jordan + occupy 96% of palestinian land?

Posted by eddy | Report as abusive

Well said Elimelech,
I’ve observed that the vast majority of the anti-Israel rhetoric is delivered by those who know little of the history of the region or the important role that Israel plays there as a democratic nation of laws. I am not Jewish, and find it astonishing that so many who claim the label here in the U.S. have no love or admiration for this historic and tough little country. They would rather that it roll over and be torn apart by the enemies that surround it.

Posted by Vettefan | Report as abusive

What makes Israel special is that God chose to reveal himself to the world through them. It is well documented how they have sufferred and been mistreated and also how they have made mistakes. Let any nation that hasn’t made any mistakes throw the first stone. Israel is sane and rational and they can and should protect themselves. The rest of the world should know better than to listen to most of the “reporting” out of that region of the world. How could anyone trust the witness of evil people who intentionally and cowardly do their evil works among and hide behind innocent citizens, hoping that the bloodshed of children which they themselves caused is viewed by the international community as wrongdoing on Israel’s part.

Israel will have peace, but it will be short lived and they will once again be taken to the brink until God hears their cry and rescues them. This story isn’t over yet. God’s a master author, whose lovingly given us foreshadowings of the ending so that we know what we’re seeing as we see it and so that we are comforted in the knowledge that he’s in control always.

Posted by Stop & Think | Report as abusive

It’s sad to see the ignorance of some when talking about Israel. The nation of Israel was created in 1948 with the Balfour declaration and that was a huge mistake. The racist and excluding religion proclaimed by the founders just shames those who perished at the hands of the third reich. This rogue state must learn to live in peace and start to respect the people from whom they stole land and dreams. Unfortunately now whoever criticizes Israel must be anti-semitic. Well, the Israelis are brothers with the Palestinians and killing and abusing the latter is just as anti-semitic. Israeli leaders should be brought to justice once for all, just like the leaders from Irak and other nations who don’t respect human rights. Where is the USA when Palestinians are slaughtered? No intervention. When Saddam gassed the Kurds, there they were, watching and doing nothing. Saddam didn’t follow the script and there was America. Shame on the USA and all those who look the other way when something wicked happens.


Interesting blog post on the meeting:

Posted by LLH | Report as abusive

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