Several weeks ago a new White House peace initiative appeared around the corner. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a startlingly generous speech to the Palestinians that left Israel seething. The topic evaporated from public view, plagued by poor communication and threats of war.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store wondered why during his meeting with Israeli President Simon Peres at the Presidential palace. Store told Peres that Israel should do more to support Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
"Abu Mazen is vulnerable and feels hurt, and his position needs to be bolstered by American support," Store said. "You have the best psychologists. How do we read the personality and political mind of Abu Mazen? What will make him move?”
Not a boastful admission that President Obama has taken Israel’s side.
"I am a friend of Abu Mazen,” Peres replied. “He says the Americans put him in a high tree and took the ladder away. Some of the mistakes were made by him. His expectations of Obama were created by him. He thought that Obama would take the Palestinian side... I can understand his feelings of disappointment.”
Or forcing Abbas to take the short end of the stick. Peres said Israel has accepted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's “plan” and "I told Abu Mazen to accept it too."
But we’re seriously concerned that Israeli Benjamin Netanyahu drove a stake into the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by demanding a security force inside the West Bank section of a Palestinian state.
“We cannot afford to have that across from the centre of our country," he told a news conference in Jerusalem. "In the case of a future settlement with the Palestinians, this will require an Israeli presence on the eastern side of a prospective Palestinian state.”
Not only does an Israeli security force inside a sovereign Palestinian state continue the occupation, Netanyahu berates Abbas for setting preconditions then makes an entirely new demand. The curtain has come up. Nothing is behind the front of Obama’s “initiative."
And at the same time that Hamas reportedly agrees to recognize Israel.
2010 in the Middle East begins like 2009 - upside-down - for the second time in Obama's presidency. Netanyahu is ruining his show.