The prime minister’s visit comes as fears grow inside the Obama administration that its aggressive plans for promoting Mideast peace could be unraveling. Mr. Netanyahu hasn’t agreed to a complete freeze of settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem as a precursor to talks, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced last week that he wouldn’t seek re-election in protest over the U.S. failure to deliver such a commitment.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton fueled outrage in the Arab world when she visited Mr. Netanyahu just over a week ago in Jerusalem and praised the Israeli leader for his agreement to a partial freeze, rather than pushing him publicly for more.
Mrs. Clinton’s comments drew criticism in Arab capitals that Washington was tilting toward the Jewish state. U.S. officials briefed on the secretary’s visit said there also were tensions between Mrs. Clinton and her Israeli counterparts over the Israelis’ hard line. Mrs. Clinton, who is traveling in Germany, won’t be part of the White House meeting.
The brinksmanship over a one-on-one meeting between the two leaders represents a rare display of pique by the White House toward Israel. Mr. Netanyahu had long been scheduled to visit Washington to speak at the assembly of Jewish groups. While he had no confirmed plans to meet Mr. Obama, it would be rare, but not unprecedented, for an Israeli prime minister to visit Washington without meeting the U.S. president. [continued…]
Editor’s Comment — A few days ago, the Yedioth Ahronoth columnist Nahum Barnea wrote: “For days the White House has refused to set a date for a meeting. It was embarrassing and humiliating. Netanyahu was angry. Not mildly angry. He was incensed.”
Thank God President Obama has come to his senses and is ready to do whatever it takes to please America’s most important ally.