Obama to warn Israel's PM, Benjamin Netanyahu: 'No more blank cheques' - Mercedes-Benz Forum

 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-17-2009, 03:59 AM Thread Starter
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Obama to warn Israel's PM, Benjamin Netanyahu: 'No more blank cheques'

Obama to warn Israel's PM, Benjamin Netanyahu: 'No more blank cheques'

Barack Obama is to deliver a blunt warning to Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, that the era of the blank US cheque is over.


The President will use a meeting with Mr Netanyahu in Washington on Monday to tell him that from now on Israel must earn its privileged relationship with America.

Mr Obama will make clear that he will not allow his foreign policy objectives to be dictated by the Jewish state's interests, and that its leaders must resume working for peace with the Palestinians.

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The President has already fired warning shots across the bows of the Israeli government to signal that he will not be pushed around by Mr Netanyahu's newly elected right-wing coalition. Many within Israel's government are openly hostile to two key aspects of American policy on the Middle East: statehood for the Palestinians and engagement with Iran.

Martin Indyk, a former US ambassador to Israel, said: "Netanyahu is caught between a rock and a hard place, the rock being the president's determination to achieve a two-state solution and the hard place being his political base which opposes it. He's inching toward the Obama position but trying to avoid saying the words, 'two-state solution.'"

Mr Netanyahu's political survival may depend on him sticking to his position. Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli foreign minister whose right-wing party is essential to the survival of the Likud-led coalition, is forthrightly opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state.

But Mr Obama's hand in confronting Mr Netanyahu was strengthened last week by a new Zogby poll revealing that voters who backed him in the election overwhelmingly support a policy which amounts to "get tough with Israel" - ending illegal Israeli settlements within Palestinian territory and establishing a Palestinian state. Jewish voters, 78 per cent of whom voted for Mr Obama, are among the strongest supporters of the plan.

Mr Obama has already shocked Israeli officials by publicly declaring that a two state solution was in America's national interest - a clear sign that Washington will no longer automatically leap to support Israel regardless of the impact on the US.

The Obama administration has also broken a long-standing taboo against discussing Israel's nuclear weapons, by calling for Israel to declare and give up its weapons arsenal, said to number around 50 warheads. A senior State Department official said the US wants Israel to sign the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty and commit to disarmament. What he has not done yet, is query the $3 billion in military aid which US taxpayers send Israel every year, although that could yet happen given the straitened times.

But Israel is meanwhile rattled by Mr Obama's willingness to attempt dialogue with Iran, seen by Mr Netanyahu and Mr Lieberman as the biggest threat to the Jewish state.

As he scans the Oval Office for friendly faces, Mr Netanyahu's eyes may light on two of Mr Obama's most trusted advisers, the White House chief of staff and former congressman Rahm Emanuel and the Presidents chief political adviser, David Axelrod. Both men are veterans of Chicago's rough and tumble politics, where Mr Obama cut his teeth - and both are also closely connected to Americas Jewish community.

Mr Emanuel's father was born in Israel, and during the 1991 Gulf war the future White House chief of staff served as a civilian volunteer helping the Israeli Defence Forces.

But alarm bells rang in Jerusalem earlier this month when it was reported that he had warned that efforts to stop Iran would depend on peace talks with the Palestinians.

Though protective towards Israel, both advisers are said to consider that for many years American policy has been skewed by hard-line allies of Israel who do not represent the majority Jewish American viewpoint. Both spent months during the presidential election campaign trail helping to brief Mr Obama on the intricacies of Israeli-Palestinian affairs, and both are convinced of the need for a two-state solution.

Mr Netanyahu, one of the most Americanised Israeli leaders in recent history who has many friends and supporters among the Republican Party, will do his best to smooth the relationship, despite the worrying developments for Jerusalem since Mr Obama took office. Mr Obama will deliver his own tougher line with characteristic charm and perhaps even an arm around the shoulder

But there was concern in Israel when Mr Obama moved to allow US aid to flow to members of the Palestinian unity government who were backed by Hamas - a sign that the Obama administration may be prepared to talk to enemies it considers terrorists, if circumstances change.

Mr Obama also sent his CIA chief, Leon Panetta, on a discreet mission to Israel two weeks ago to warn Mr Netanyahu not to lose patience over Iran's progress to nuclear weapons - and above all, not to launch preemptive air strikes against suspected nuclear enrichment facilities.

Mr Panetta's message to the Israeli prime minister was that Iran would not be a serious threat even if it develops a nuclear weapon. With the outcome of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq still in doubt, the US has neither the stomach nor the manpower to take on another major conflict which Israel will not be able to fight on its own.

On his way to Washington, Mr Netanyahu sought to convince Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and King Abdullah II of Jordan that the Iranian nuclear programme threatens them as much as Israel. He told them that the Iranian regime was attempting to use nuclear weapons to impose its agenda on Arabs as much as Israelis and that it could be stopped by working together.

Obama to warn Israel's PM, Benjamin Netanyahu: 'No more blank cheques' - Telegraph
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-17-2009, 04:00 AM Thread Starter
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About time someone woke up and smelled the coffee, maybe Mr. O is a Muslim.........
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-17-2009, 09:13 AM
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Bullshit! He will obey like a good little boy or there will be another eminent Monica scandal around the bend.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-17-2009, 09:16 AM
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Anti Semitism Alert! Fuck Amber! Anti Semitism Alert!
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-17-2009, 09:17 AM Thread Starter
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You mean....





Will it be an October surprise? Jay promised us one..........
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-17-2009, 09:18 AM
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Anti Semitism Alert! Fuck Amber! Anti Semitism Alert!
fresh blood, call the beasts
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-17-2009, 09:21 AM
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About time someone woke up and smelled the coffee, maybe Mr. O is a Muslim.........
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Bullshit! He will obey like a good little boy or there will be another eminent Monica scandal around the bend.
It might fall somewhere between the two extremes; fortunately for Obama Netanyahu is such an out of touch extremist – particularly with regard to the widely accepted two state solution – that the President’s job will be relatively easy.
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