Obama to Netanyahu: Answer by Saturday

Published: March 29th 2010
in News >> World

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama
Pic: wikimedia commons

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be meeting with his senior ministers on Friday in order to discuss the demands made by US President Barack Obama during Netanyahu’s most recent trip to Washington. The PM’s visit was thought to be one of the most difficult in years due to the explosive response by the US over plans to build new Jewish housing in Jerusalem.


Officials for both Netanyahu and Obama remain mum on last week’s meeting, releasing little information about the obligations the United States is stressing that Israel make as a precursor to starting the proximity talks with the Palestinians. According to officials, the US wants these obligations by Saturday so they can be brought to the Arab League meeting to take place in Libya and receive that organization’s backing to go forth with the proximity talks.


A Palestinian Authority official claims the US administration informed the PA that the Netanyahu/Obama meeting in Washington did not produce any conclusions on the issue of construction in East Jerusalem. The same official was quoted as saying that PA President Mahmoud Abbas met with David Hale, US deputy assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, in Amman and that he was briefed on the stalemate exhibited by both sides. Hale also spoke to Abbas in regards to the US administration’s plan to continue discussions with the Israeli government over the next few days in an attempt to fix the rift that has recently come to light between the Netanyahu government and the Obama administration.


Before leaving Washington late Wednesday night, Netanyahu attempted to put a positive spin on the situation with the Obama administration, telling the media that the two sides had made progress in finding middle ground that could link “traditional policy of all Israeli governments and our will to also find a way to renew the peace process.”


US officials indicated on Thursday that Israel had made an effort to bridge the gaps between the two countries even though a final resolution was not met. The same officials also indicated that Israel is keen on finding a solution that will encompass peace and allow for the continued building of Jewish housing in East Jerusalem.


According to Israeli sources, the US is asking Israel to curb the building in East Jerusalem and show a willingness to deal with the issue of borders and refugees in and around the holy city. The Obama administration is asking for Israel to agree to new confidence building measures, which includes the release of hundreds of Fatah prisoners.


The Jerusalem Post reported that a source from the Israeli PM’s office alleged that the ultimate goal of the dialogue with the US was to “put these problems behind us” and find a way to start the proximity talks.

Related articles: (middle east peace, netanyahu, peace process, east jerusalem)

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