JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Following reports of an unprecedented U.S. offer of a host of assurances in return for a 60-day extension of the freeze on building in West Bank settlements, some political analysts are wondering why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not grabbed the deal with both hands.
According to the reports, President Obama is offering Netanyahu pledges that the United States will:
* Not ask for additional extensions on the partial ban on settlement building, which expired Sept. 26;
No one likes Avigdor Lieberman, to hear the left tell it. No one on the Israeli left or in the American Jewish Surrender Lobby liked Avigdor Lieberman's speech at the UN -- the J-Soros Surrender Street only advocates Israeli capitulation to any enemy demand (such as building freeze in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria) ordered withoout negotiation by the Palestinians and their corner men in the White House.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Eighty-seven U.S. senators signed a letter urging President Obama to keep the Israelis and Palestinians at the negotiating table.
The letter, initiated by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.), thanks Obama for restarting direct peace talks and notes the threat to their success from what it calls "enemies of peace" -- Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran.
I've had some interesting feedback on my story last week on President Obama's “real” Jewish problem. No, it's not the problem of angry Jewish activists who think he's anti-Israel, but the disillusionment of many on the left over what they view as his overly centrist domestic policies.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signaled he would heed, in part, an appeal from President Obama to continue the settlement freeze.
"Between zero and one there are a lot of possibilities," Haaretz quoted Netanyahu as telling his Cabinet ministers on Sunday. Other media quoted similar remarks from the prime minister, suggesting that he is considering quashing some -- if not all -- of the thousands of building permits set to kick in when the partial moratorium he imposed last fall expires on Sept. 26.
Reading Ron Kampeas' story on a pre-Rosh Hashanah interview with the Jewish press (which I missed, due to other commitments) I was struck by the dilemma Israeli leaders face in these days of unrestrained, unfiltered political animosity.
According to Ron, Oren said that “Obama often doesn’t get the credit he deserves in Israel.”
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- President Obama told American rabbis that securing Israel was critical to the peace process.
The president, in a 35-minute Rosh Hashanah call Tuesday with 600 rabbis of all denominations, said his administration's efforts to reassure the Israeli government of U.S. backing for its security helped bring about the renewed peace process.
The Obama administration in the past year has enhanced intelligence sharing and missile defense cooperation with Israel, and has taken the lead in isolating Iran until it makes transparent its nuclear program.
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