Aluf Benn writes:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can feel satisfied while flying to Washington Thursday night. U.S. President Barack Obama has granted Netanyahu a major diplomatic victory.
In return for his call for the establishment of a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, without defining the size of these lands, Obama accepted Netanyahu’s demands for strict security arrangements and a gradual, continuous withdrawal from the West Bank.
He suggested beginning negotiations on borders and security arrangements, and delaying discussions on the core issues such as Jerusalem and refugees.
More importantly, Obama scornfully rejected the Palestinian initiative to attain recognition at the United Nations and to isolate Israel, demanded the Palestinians return to negotiations, and called on Hamas to recognize Israel’s right to exist. These points came straight out of the policy pages of the Prime Minister’s Bureau in Jerusalem. Netanyahu could not have asked for more: Obama outright rejects Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ recognition campaign, as well as the Palestinian reconciliation agreement.
It seems that the new Fatah-Hamas unity has saved Netanyahu from a much more aggressive and binding speech on the part of Obama.
Obama could have also delivered his Mideast speech during the impending AIPAC conference, which he will attend this coming Sunday.