Israel concerned Obama heading towards imposing Middle East settlement

March 29, 2010

Barack Obama

US President Barack Obama’s demands during his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week mark a dramatic change in US policy toward Israel, Israeli political sources have said.

The demands are the tip of the change iceberg and indicate an intention to impose a permanent settlement on Israel and the Palestinians in less than two years, Haaretz reported on Monday.

Four of the ten demands posed by Obama deal with Jerusalem: opening a Palestinian commercial interests office in East Jerusalem, an end to the razing of structures in Palestinian neighbourhoods in Jerusalem, stopping construction in Jewish neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem, and not building the neighbourhood of Ramat Shlomo, the Israeli daily said.

However, the key demand to discuss the dispute’s core issues during the indirect talks that are planned is perceived in Tel Aviv as “problematic” because it implies that direct negotiations would be bypassed. Such a development would set up a framework through which the Americans would be able to impose a final settlement.

It is not just Obama’s demands that are perceived as problematic, but also the new modus operandi of American diplomacy. The fact that the White House and State Department have been in contact with Israel’s European allies, first and foremost Germany is seen as part of an effort to isolate Israel and put enormous political pressure on it, the unnamed sources have reportedly said.

Israeli officials say that the Obama administration’s new policy contradicts commitments made by previous administrations, as well as a letter from George W. Bush in 2004 to the prime minister at the time, Ariel Sharon. According to this view, the new policy is also incongruous with the framework posed by Bill Clinton in 2000.

Senior Israeli sources say that as a result of the U.S. administration’s policies, the Palestinians will toughen their stance and seriously undermine the peace process’ chances of success.


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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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