(Click on any article’s title to see the whole article…Ed.)
Obama to Israel: Time Is Running Out – Jeffrey Goldberg
When Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu visits the White House, President Obama will tell him that his country could face a bleak future – one of international isolation and demographic disaster – if he refuses to endorse a U.S.-drafted framework agreement for peace with the Palestinians. Obama told me in an interview Thursday that he views Abbas as the most politically moderate leader the Palestinians may ever have. It seemed obvious to me that the president believes that the next move is Netanyahu’s.
Obama said: “If there’s something you know you have to do, even if it’s difficult or unpleasant, you might as well just go ahead and do it, because waiting isn’t going to help. When I have a conversation with Bibi, that’s the essence of my conversation: If not now, when? And if not you, Mr. Prime Minister, then who? How does this get resolved?” (Bloomberg)
The President’s Threats to Israel – John Podhoretz (Commentary)
In an extraordinary interview, President Obama warns Israel and its leader that a failure to “make peace” now with the Palestinians will have terrible consequences.
Palestinian rejectionism plays almost no role in the Obaman calculus. The Palestinians, in Obama’s view, do not actually need to make changes; astonishingly, he says, they’re ready for peace, overlooking every piece of polling data we have about the opinions of the Palestinians.
60% of the Palestinians reject a two-state solution. They are so eager for peace and coexistence with Israel that they remain the only significant Muslim population that still has a favorable view of suicide bombings, according to a Pew survey.
Obama said: “Nobody would dispute” that Abbas is committed to “diplomatic efforts to resolve this issue.”
Yet in 2008, offered a peace deal by then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert giving the Palestinians 92-95% of the territory, Abbas basically fled the table and didn’t return.
For Netanyahu, a Bombshell Battering by Obama – David Horovitz
The timing of President Obama’s interview with Jeffrey Goldberg could not have been any more deliberate – an assault on the prime minister’s policies delivered precisely as Netanyahu was flying in to meet with him. At the very least, that might be considered bad manners, poor diplomatic protocol, a resounding preemptive slap in the face: I’ve just told the world you’re leading your country to ruin, Mr. Prime Minister. Now, what was it you wanted to talk to me about?
The president’s comments reinforce years of grievance that have accumulated in Netanyahu’s circles and some distance beyond, to the effect that the president ignores the inconsistencies, duplicities and worse of the Palestinian Authority and its leader Mahmoud Abbas, while placing exaggerated blame for the failure of peace efforts at the door of the Israeli government. The president’s public display of disaffection will hardly encourage the Palestinians to adopt more flexible positions on such core issues as their demand for a “right of return” for millions of Palestinians to Israel.
The president’s resort to an interview on the eve of their talks to issue near-apocalyptic warnings to Netanyahu is unlikely to bolster the prime minister’s confidence in their alliance. (Times of Israel)
U.S. Pessimistic on Israeli-Palestinian Framework Deal – Barak Ravid
Two senior Israeli officials who have talked to senior U.S. officials in recent days said that, in contrast to the past, they sensed pessimism regarding the possibility of reaching a framework agreement by the end of March. U.S. pessimism started about 10 days ago after meetings between Secretary of State Kerry and Palestinian President Abbas in Paris. The talks in Paris revealed how far away a framework agreement is.
After reaching certain understandings with Netanyahu, the Americans found they were still far from what Abbas is prepared to accept. Senior Palestinians say that, in light of the poor talks between Abbas and Kerry, the Americans are considering foregoing a written document and making do with general verbal agreements. (Ha’aretz)
Prime Minister Netanyahu said upon arriving in the U.S. on Mondaythat for peace in the Middle East to take hold, the Palestinians must demonstrate their desire to reach a solution. “The tango in the Middle East needs at least three,” Netanyahu said. “For years there have been two – Israel and the U.S. Now it needs to be seen if the Palestinians are also present.” (Jerusalem Post)