Senate leader lectures Obama on Israeli-Arab conflict

Sunday, June 21, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

US Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sent a letter to President Barack Obama last week criticizing the latter for his administration's heavy pressure on Israel to be the facilitator of the Middle East peace process.

Reid noted that Israel has already met many of its peace obligations, while the Palestinians after 15 years have not fulfilled even their most basic commitments, namely to recognize the Jewish state's right to exist and eliminate the threat of anti-Israel Palestinian terrorism.

"I believe negotiations will be successful only with a renewed commitment from the Palestinians to be a true partner to peace," wrote Reid in response to Obama's and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's insistence that a complete halt of all Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria is what is needed to kick start the peace process.

Reid also took issue with Obama's assertion in his policy speech in Cairo earlier in the month that the Nazi Holocaust was the basis for State of Israel's existence.

The basis for Israel's existence, Reid schooled the president, is "the historic kingdom of Israel, which was established more than 3,000 years ago."

Lastly, the senator firmly disagreed that getting the Israelis and Palestinians to sign yet another peace document would facilitate his efforts to diplomatically curb Iran's nuclear program. Reid wrote that the Iran situation must be dealt with separately and with a commitment that is not dependent on progress in the Israeli-Arab peace process.

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