What we know after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Washington visit this week: both the Israeli leader and President Obama have decided that for various reasons it's best not to be quarreling, especially in public. Both have a strong vested interest in restoring the public trappings of the “special” U.S.-Israel relationship.
The problem is what we don't know; the pomp-rich visit leaves us with more questions than answers:
It was only a month or so ago that Israel’s relationship with the United States government was in serious trouble. First it was the visit of Vice-President Biden to Israel that was marred by Israel’s ill-timed announcement of new housing starts in East Jerusalem. President Obama was said to be furious. Then it was Israel’s handling of the Gaza flotilla that seemed to anger everyone in the world who was awake and breathing at the time.
Appearing before Jewish leaders in New York a day after he met with President Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeated what he has rarely mentioned in more than a year — his commitment to a two-state solution, a pledge he first made in June 2009.
NEW YORK (JTA) – It was an otherwise wholly unremarkable stump speech before a friendly audience in New York.
On Wednesday evening at Manhattan’s Plaza hotel, the Israeli prime minister addressed a roomful of about 200 Jews on the subjects of Iran, his government’s eagerness for direct peace talks with the Palestinians, and the swell meeting he had just had with President Obama at the White House.
Bibi-Obama meeting high on atmospherics, low on specifics going forward.
James D. Besser
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu staged a diplomatic dance in Washington on Tuesday meant to show the world — and their respective constituencies — that they are still in step.
But the carefully choreographed atmospherics belied potential difficulties ahead and many unanswered questions, starting with these: will President Barack Obama stick to his stated goal of moving aggressively on the Israeli-Palestinian front despite a plateful of international and domestic political problems?
Tonight's Israeli newspapers are touting President Obama's promise to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the U.S. will press for “direct” talks between Israel and the Palestinians as soon as possible instead of the indirect “proximity” talks now underway.
This is supposedly a victory for Netanyahu, who in news stories leading up to today's White House summit was portrayed as putting direct talks at the top of his Washington wish list, but I wonder; is that what he really wants?
U.S.-Israel summits are generally pretty predictable affairs, but today's Barack Obama – Benjamin Netanyahu meeting takes the honey cake.
A kiss-and-make-up session, we learned weeks ago. A chance for Netanyahu to demonstrate all the “unprecedented” things he's done to advance the peace process, to use a word that pro-Israel groups here can't seem to get enough of. An opportunity for Obama, chastened by the intense political reaction to his earlier dealing with Netanyahu, to show he's a nice guy who really likes Israel and can get along with Netanyahu.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Proximity talks between the Israelis and Palestinians have addressed "core issues" and President Obama is ready to move to direct talks, White House officials said.
Ben Rhodes and Daniel Shapiro, two senior staffers on the White House national security council, spoke Friday afternoon with reporters ahead of a summit Tuesday between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.