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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Shock and horror: Understandings reached with Bush administration now 'worthless'

Israeli negotiators who met with emissaries of President Obama in London last week to try to work out a compromise regarding the 'settlement freeze' discovered to their shock and horror that all of the understandings that the Sharon and Olmert governments had reached with Bush administration were now 'worthless.'
The Israeli delegates were stunned by the uncompromising U.S. stance, and by statements from Mitchell and his staff that agreements reached with the Bush administration were unacceptable. An Israeli official privy to the talks said that "the Americans took something that had been agreed on for many years and just stopped everything."

"What about the Tenet Report, which demanded that the Palestinians dismantle the terror infrastructure?" said the official, referring to former CIA director George Tenet. "It's unfair, and there is no reciprocity shown toward the Palestinians."

The Israeli envoys said the demand for a total settlement freeze was not only unworkable, but would not receive High Court sanction. Tensions reportedly reached a peak when, speaking of the Gaza disengagement, the Israelis told their interlocutors, "We evacuated 8,000 settlers on our own initiative," to which Mitchell responded simply, "We've noted that here."

Defense Minister Ehud Barak will travel to Washington today in an attempt to put further pressure on the Obama administration.

"We want to reach an agreement with the United States on ways to advance the peace process," said a senior Jerusalem official. The U.S. stance, he said, "will stall the process and bring about tension and stagnation, which will hurt both Israel and the United States."
I don't expect Barak to get very far. Recall the treatment that IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi received in Washington a few months ago.

It's unbelievably hypocritical that the Obama administration expects the Netanyahu government to abide by its predecessors' commitments, but is unwilling to abide by its predecessor's commitments.

But what's most stunning about this piece is that the composition of the delegation that Netanyahu sent was probably about as 'moderate' as this government is going to get.
The Israeli delegation consisted of National Security Adviser Uzi Arad, Netanyahu diplomatic envoy Yitzhak Molcho, Defense Ministry chief of staff Mike Herzog and deputy prime minister Dan Meridor.
Arad has had his issues with the US, and I'm not really familiar with Herzog, but Molcho was Netanyahu's personal attorney and is the scion of a prominent Jerusalem law firm. He was the advance man for many of Netanyahu's negotiations with Arafat and (Hafez) Assad during Netanyahu's first term in office.

And Meridor is one of the Likud's most leftwing members who left the party at one point because it was too rightwing for his tastes. Meridor was one of the 'moderates' Netanayhu wanted high on the Knesset list that I had in mind in this post. The fact that this was Netanyahu's delegation (and not Avigdor Lieberman or former ambassador to the US and Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon) shows that Netanyahu really is trying to accommodate Obama. If this is the American position and those two are reacting with such shock to it, it is clear that we have a long uphill battle ahead of us to survive this administration's term in office.

UPDATE 12:00 PM

More on this story here.

5 Comments:

At 9:15 AM, Blogger LB said...

When is the gov't going to learn to stop being the White House's lapdog?

What should be done (other than stop accepting American bribes) is to say, ok - you don't recognize those agreements, we don't recognize any others. No Annapolis, no roadmap, no Wye, and on and on.

 
At 9:17 AM, Blogger Findalis said...

It looks like Israel is going to have to go it alone for the next 4 years. BO will cut off all funding to pressure Israel into its own destruction.

 
At 10:28 AM, Blogger LB said...

Cut off funding? I might actually like him if he did that. Israel would be truly independent for the first time in decades.

 
At 10:34 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel should denounce Olso and the Road Map and declare it is going to annex Yesha. Let's see the hypocritical Americans, who feel free to wriggle out of their commitments to Israel, denounce Israel for voiding its commitments to the US. Its a two way street and since the US feels it can disregard Israel, Israel is under no obligation to heed American views.

That's what the Netanyahu government should do - but won't.

 
At 7:35 PM, Blogger christine said...

how can anybody be shocked?????????????obama let us know who he was in the very beginning.......we all knew he was pro palenstina.you don't sit in a church for 20 years and listen to racist rants on israel and america and come away not being racist your self....obama lied and the americans jews bought into his lies.....and now we must all pay a price.especially our friends in israel..........we must all fight this maddness or he wins.we well not let this happen.israel have many many friends here and we'll fight for her existence as well as for ours..we won't give up and neither should you.........just stay strong and back up and make netanyahu government stronge to over come what obama well do .......................

 

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