U.S.-Israel relations

Barak Meeting Top U.S. Officials

02/09/2011

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is in Washington meeting top administration officials and Congress members.

Barak is meeting Wednesday with Dennis Ross, the top Iran policy official in the White House; Tom Donilon, the national security adviser; Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, as well as Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the chairwoman of the U.S. House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee and other Congress members.

Netanyahu's Pollard letter: Israel's actions 'unacceptable'

Ha'aretz is running the full text of Benjamin Netanyahu's letter to president Obama requesting executive clemency for convicted spy Jonathan Pollard – the first such formal request from an Israel Prime Minister.

Netanyahu: Israel Was Ready to Extend Freeze

01/03/2011

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Israel was prepared to extend a West Bank construction freeze, but the United States withdrew the idea, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

"The United States asked us to consider extending the freeze by three months, and the truth is that we were prepared to do so," Netanyahu reportedly told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday.

Grace Meng's View Of Israelis And Americans

Grace Meng of Queens, whose press releases note that she is the only Asian American serving in the New York state Legislature, recently visited Israel on one of those JCRC missions intended to build political support among politicians who may not have had a prior chance to see the country personally and meet its leaders.

I've read or heard many such accounts from elected officials on their return from such missions, but the one below struck me as particularly interesting and insightful enough to reprint in near-entirety here.

Grace Meng at the Knesset

U.S. Military Aid to Israel Delayed

12/27/2010

(JTA) -- United States military aid to Israel for fiscal year 2011 has been delayed for three months.

The more than $3 million in military aid, among the largest amount Israel has ever received, includes grants to upgrade the Iron Dome and Arrow anti-ballistic missile systems.

The delay follows the Obama's administration's difficulty in passing the annual 2011 budget, which forced the president to sign a presidential order extending the current budget through March. Funding for the budget will be disbursed on a month-to-month basis until then.

Rice Cable Confirms Israel Destroyed Syrian Reactor

12/26/2010

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- A confidential memo from Condoleezza Rice to State Department representatives around the world confirmed that Israel destroyed a Syrian nuclear reactor, a cable leaked to WikiLeaks says.

The cable, which has not yet been published, was reported by the Israeli newspaper Yediot Acharonot before its official publication on the website.

Ros-Lehtinen: Israel Aid Will Remain Top Priority

12/23/2010

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Funding for Israel will remain a top priority in a Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives, a top GOP congresswoman said.

"Security assistance to Israel is a top priority for Republicans because our Members understand that it is a vital investment which enhances our nation's security interests and is a force-multiplier of our efforts to combat extremism in the Middle East," Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said in a statement. "Charges to the contrary are baseless and politically-motivated."

Bibi And The U.S.: More Confusion, And A Correction

My last blog, posted on Tuesday, posed the question of what Prime Minister Netanyahu’s strategy is regarding peace talks with the Palestinians. That question remains, even more so today, but I stand corrected on one conclusion I drew.

I noted that Mideast experts are baffled by the Israeli leader’s seeming willingness to press ahead in negotiations, including the possibility of ceding West Bank land, while at the same time holding fast on the right to build in the settlements, and quickening the pace of construction.

What Is Bibi Thinking?

What Is Bibi Thinking?

Does Bibi really want a deal with the Palestinian Authority?

That’s the question Mideast observers, here and in Israel, are asking more and more these days, and they are baffled.

There are those who feel the Israeli prime minister genuinely is interested in negotiations that would include ceding territory to the Palestinians, as long as there were security talks for Israel as well. At least, they say, that’s what Netanyahu told President Obama this summer during White House talks that seemed to go well.

Sullivan calls for Israel aid cut; ain't gonna happen

Over at the Atlantic, influential blogger Andrew Sullivan yesterday called for an end to U.S. aid to Israel after the collapse of Obama administration efforts to win a 90 day settlement freeze extension in return for a rich package of incentives.

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