Stuart Eizenstat, former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union who held several positions in the Clinton administration, including undersecretary of Commerce, undersecretary of State and special representative of the president and the secretary of State for Holocaust issues, is the new special negotiator for Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. He held his first negotiating session in mid-March.
Q: How would you assess that first session?
As he settles in after officially assuming the post of prime minister on Wednesday, Benjamin Netanyahu may quickly face his first challenge from George Mitchell, America’s special envoy to the Middle East.
The expected presentation next week of Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is likely to intensify pressure on Kadima Party leader Tzipi Livni to join his coalition or face defections, according to political analysts.
Livni insisted in an interview with Israeli media that she would not sit “in a government in which I am a permanent minority,” but Gerald Steinberg, a political science professor at Bar-Ilan University, said he heard that refrain before.
As Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu continued to struggle to put together a coalition government this week, Israelis were riveted to a different drama — the negotiations to free kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.
The Israeli government emphatically rejected this week a proposal by European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana to impose a settlement on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if none is reached by a set deadline, and Israeli analysts dismissed it as infeasible.
With his back to the wall in his dealings with Washington, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly weighing the possibility of broadening his government to give him more flexibility in anticipation of meeting American demands.
The reports are based in part on right-wing elements in Netanyahu’s coalition government that are upset with the prime minister’s decision to work towards a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to Yossi Alpher, an Israeli analyst and co-editor of the Israeli-Palestinian Web site bitterlemons.org.