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Obama administration said to be cultivating Netanyahu opponents

WASHINGTON — The White House has concluded that an agreement with the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a fast-track program to establish a Palestinian state is unlikely to happen.   

Israel's Prime Minister designate Benjamin Netanyahu with U.S. Secretary of State Clinton, in Jerusalem on March 3.      UPI/Ronen Zvulun
U.S. sources, including those close to the Obama administration, said such cooperation would be greater by an Israeli government led by the opposition Kadima Party, chaired by former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

"It may be that the Obama administration has concluded that they cannot achieve the two-state solution with the Netanyahu government and perhaps want another Israeli prime minister," Aaron Miller, a former State Department official and regarded as a consultant to the administration, told the Saudi-owned A-Sharq Al Awsat.

"And the best way to do this is to make Netanyahu appear incapable of managing Israel's most important relations in the world, which is its relations with the United States."

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The White House has warned Israel that the United States would maintain pressure until the end of all Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank as well as the demolition of unauthorized communities, Middle East Newsline reported. The message was also relayed by key members of Congress who visited Israel in late May.

The sources said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other senior administration officials have been in steady contact with Ms. Livni, whose Kadima Party won the most seats in Knesset elections in 2009 but failed to form a coalition majority. They said the administration also envisions any post-Netanyahu government as retaining Ehud Barak as defense minister.

On June 2, Barak met Obama for 15 minutes in an unannounced meeting at the White House. Obama walked into a session between the Israeli defense minister and National Security Advisor James Jones in what the sources said was meant to demonstrate the president's endorsement of Barak's policy of destroying unauthorized Jewish communities in the West Bank.

"Part of being a good friend is being honest," Obama said on June 1 in an interview with National Public Radio. "I believe that strategically, the status quo is unsustainable when it comes to Israel's security. Over time, in the absence of peace with Palestinians, Israel will continue to be threatened militarily and will have enormous problems on its borders."

The White House campaign appeared to reflect a similar effort by President Bill Clinton in 1999. Clinton, angered over Netanyahu's insistence on Palestinian reciprocity before any military redeployment in the West Bank, refused to meet the Israeli prime minister and backed his challenger, Barak, in national elections. Barak, aided by heavy U.S. political and financial support, easily beat Netanyahu and became prime minister.

"We see Barak as one of the few members of the current [Israeli] administration who understands our vision," an Obama administration source said.

A senior administration official said Obama, pressed by his special envoy, George Mitchell, was preparing to publicly blame Netanyahu for any U.S. failure to advance efforts toward a Palestinian state in the West Bank. The official said the administration, in consultation with current and former Israeli politicians, was considering boycotting the prime minister, blocking weapons exports and ending near-total U.S. support for Israel in the United Nations.

"We have made this very clear that our intention is to bring about an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement regardless of the leadership in Israel," the official said.

The administration has concluded that a crisis between Israel and the United States would immediately jeopardize the future of Netanyahu and his government. The sources, some of whom dealt with Netanyahu when he was prime minister in the mid-1990s, said the crisis would be magnified by the Israeli media and political opposition while leading the Palestinian Authority and European Union states to shun Netanyahu as well.

The sources said the Obama plan to pressure Netanyahu was relayed to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas during his visit to Washington in late May. They said Abbas was told that Israel would be pressured into agreeing to a complete halt in Jewish construction in the West Bank as well as the establishment of a Palestinian state even at the cost of a new government.

"Our immediate object is to start working with our Israeli and Arab partners and our allies in the international community, to create the conditions for a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, and establish a viable independent Palestinian state," the senior official said.

The sources said Obama regarded a freeze on Jewish construction in the West Bank as a leading U.S. challenge in relations with Israel. They said Mitchell, scheduled to arrive in Israel on June 8, was tracking developments in the West Bank on a daily basis, sending teams to monitor Jewish construction in Jerusalem and consulting with Israeli opposition groups that have encouraged the White House to topple Netanyahu.

"I think there have been times where we are not as honest as we should be about the fact that the current direction, the current trajectory, in the region is profoundly negative, not only for Israeli interests but also U.S. interests," Obama said. "That's part of a new dialogue that I'd like to see encouraged in the region."

"Although I don't want to put artificial time tables on that process, we do want to make sure that, by the end of this year, we've actually seen a serious process move forward," Obama said.


Obama and his Administration need to study their Bible, especially Ezekiel... While it is written "all nations shall be against Israel", it is also written that "God will raise his hand against all nations which oppose Isreal"! Has anyone been paying attention to what has been happening in the U.S. lately?

Jim      11:50 p.m. / Tuesday, June 9, 2009

How about a viable and sustainable Israeli State!!! Oh...I guess that does not matter! The Palestinians have had long enough time to have a two state solution and all they seem to want is a "one state" solution..."PALESTINE"!

Jack      6:17 p.m. / Sunday, June 7, 2009

Well this just shows why Ehud Barak needs to be fired immediately. Anyone who lines with Obama's foreign policy vision is mentally challenged.

Debbie      5:50 p.m. / Sunday, June 7, 2009

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