The First Draft: Obama and Netanyahu

May 18, 2009

OBAMA/ABORTIONBack from South Bend, Indiana, President Obama meets today at 10:30 with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The new/old Israeli leader wants to talk about Iran’s nuclear ambitions — his government has not ruled out military action, while Obama wants to emphasize diplomacy.

Netanyahu hopes the emphasis on Iran will mean that Obama will have less of an opportunity to press him on other issues, like Palestinian statehood and expanded Jewish settlements in the Palestinian West Bank.

If the meeting turns confrontational, it could mean a rocky start for the two leaders, and a more complicated chapter in U.S.-Israeli relations.

On Capitol Hill, the House Energy and Commerce Committee takes up sweeping climate-change legislation that would give polluting industries most of the emission permits they need.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner speaks at the National Press Club at 11:30, and U.S. Trade Representatvive Ron Kirk talks trade at the Chamber of Commerce at noon.

photo: REUTERS/Jason Reed (Obama takes part in the blessing of students during the commencement ceremonies at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana, May 17)

For more Reuters political coverage, click here.

4 comments

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Here is a golden opportunity for President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu to blaze a new trail, the path of peace and a new future for Arabs and Jews. Granted Netanyahu is hawkish and will try to side-track Obama with the question of Iran. But President Obama will use his diplomatic skills to emphasise the urgency of a Palestinian state and the importance of Israel living in peace with the Arab world. Of course the intentions of Iran will be high on the agenda but the issue of Iran should not eclipse the plight of Palestinians.

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  !!! We knew that Mr. Netanyahu would not back down under pressure from Obama! Stand your ground, Bibi!!!!!

Posted by patriot34 | Report as abusive

Patriot 34, a true patriot will give his life for his country and peace. Itzak Rabin and Anwar Sadat come to mind. Must we wait for the return of the God of Abraham before man can learn to war no more? And what then if there is no God?

On the issue of nuclear weapons why can Israel have them but Arab nations cannot. What moral authority does the U.S. have to use it’s influence to pick and choose who can have nukes and who cannot. We were the only ones ever to use them on a population. It appears to be that Pandora’s box has been opened.

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive

After President Obama’s speech in Cairo, we hope that Reuters will finally publish the following remarks that we Disabled American Veterans tried to have published when this blog was first published. If we see an “invalid”, we will know that you are intentionally blocking our remarks…and as President Obama phrased it in Cairo…the truth. Remember this…nobody has more of a right to speak the truth than those who have risked their lives and limbs, sight, hearing and mental & physical health on battlefields around the world.

We closely observed the joint media question-and-answer session with President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Basically, each fellow talked around the other fellow.

Mr. Obama talked about what is domestically politically advantageous to him–given the present dovish and (after 8 years) war-weary mood of at least 52.9% of the American voting electorate, e.g., 1) a 2-state solution (i.e., a contiguous and armed-to-the-teeth sovereign Israel but an untenable fractured & disarmed sovereign Palestine) 2) a halting of West Bank Jewish settlements and 3) compassion and humanitarian aid for the Gaza voting electorate (notwithstanding their political support for Hamas).

On the other hand, Mr. Netanyahu talked about what is domestically politically advantageous to him–given the present hawkish mood of at least 57.5% of the 18th Israeli Knesset that brought him to power for the second time in 10 years on March 31st, e.g., 1) NO 2-state solution (i.e., NO sovereign Palestine, no matter how untenably fractured or disarmed) 2) NO halting of West Bank Jewish settlements 3) NO compassion for the voting electorate of Gaza (as long as Hamas exists…Gaza being taken from Egyptian control (since 1948) by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War, although turned back to the Palestinians after 38 years in 2005, but with Gaza’s Mediterranean coastline, all of its airspace & its common border with Israel remaining under Israeli control).

Incidentally, Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud Party share of the 120-member 18th Knesset is 22.5% (21.6% of 3.4 million voters on February 10th), but he garnered an additional 35% of the Knesset members in a vote of confidence on March 31st. Mr. Netanyahu’s control of the Israeli government is very tenuous, with the Kadima party of Tzipi Livni waiting in the wings to take over with a 23.33% share of the Knesset under her control (28 (K) v. 27 (L) of 120). The Kadima party’s immediate problem is that it isn’t quite hawkish enough for the present mood in Israel, whereas Likud is all the way to the right.

We observed Mr. Netanyahu (the so called 3-no’s PM) over some period of time, including the time that he was previously PM (elected directly by the voting electorate in 1996 during the Clinton administration). Mr. Netanyahu’s 3 No’s then were 1) NO withdrawal from Golan Heights [taken from Syrian control (since 1944), in the 1967 Six Day War] 2) NO withdrawal from East Jerusalem [taken from Jordanian control (since 1948), in the 1967 Six Day War…all of Jerusalem having been designated an international city under the 1947 UN Partition Plan before the 1948 Muslim Arab-Israeli War (West Jerusalem therefore under Israeli control since 1948) and as an overall Netanyahu “no-umbrella” 3) NO negotiations under any preconditions.

In essence, Mr. Netanyahu practices what Israelis in general most likely practice, i.e., they will wait out every U.S. president (the U.S. being Israel’s greatest benefactor by far) until they get what they want in the end. This may take a hundred years or even a thousand. Time is not of the essence. What they most likely want is for all the occupied territories (i.e., Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem & the Golan Heights…the latter already having been annexed by Israel in 1981) to be part of Israel. Of course, that would mean bringing all resident Muslim Palestinian Arabs (not the nonresident refugees, of course) under the control of a Jewish theocracy…or the departure of Muslim Palestinians–neither one of the preceding being likely, of course. Incidentally, the “right of return” of Palestinian refugees is another NO for Mr. Netanyahu.

And last but most certainly not least–it is the general wish of Muslim Arabs (and of late, most particularly the Muslim Persians of Iran) that the 61-year old modern state of Israel simply cease to exist. In keeping with all of the “no’s” going around, there were the original 1967 Muslim Arab 3 no’s as well: 1) NO recognition of Israel, NO peace with Israel and NO negotiations with Israel. Later as we know, Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994) turned those no’s into yes’s…leading to the domestic assassinations of Anwar Sadat (1981) of Egypt and Yitzhak Rabin (1995) of Israel.

Mr. Netanyahu was directly elected PM of Israel in 1996 by a narrow margin.

The preceding “No-Obstacles to peace” leave every new U.S. president (including Mr. Obama) the opportunity to make an effort at brokering a peace that most likely will never come. In other words, the Israelis have been conducting a 61-year counterinsurgency against a Muslim Arab insurgency, the latter primarily taking place of late in Gaza and secondarily of late in the West Bank.

The generic history of counterinsurgencies flatly says that the last man standing is virtually always the insurgent, and not the counterinsurgent. Of course, the May 2009 government military defeat (after 33 years) of the separatist insurgent Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka gives some small glimmer of hope to counterinsurgencies being conducted around the globe, including those in 1) Afghanistan (Afghanistan/NATO/U.S.) 2) Iraq (Iraq/U.S.) 3) Pakistan (Pakistan/and to some extent the U.S.)–and perhaps that same small glimmer of hope to even the sometimes less evident counterinsurgency in Israel/Palestine.

But let’s not forget past counterinsurgency operations conducted by the Russians (Soviets) in Afghanistan (11 “hot” years 1979-89), the U.S. in SE Asia (1954-75 and 11 years “hot” 1963-73) and the French in SE Asia (1887-1954, the last 8 years particularly “hot” with $Billions in U.S. military aid flowing to the French from the Truman and Eisenhower administrations and U.S. congresses). All of these counterinsurgencies ended with the withdrawal of the counterinsurgent military forces, i.e., Russian (Soviet), American & the French after hundreds of thousands of casualties through deaths, wounds & illness.

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