White House succumbs to Netanyahu's pressure

Thursday, May 26, 2011 |  Ryan Jones

For years, the US administration has insisted on only making "even-handed" statements about the Middle East peace process, while in reality being harshly critical of Israel.

This practice has intensified under US President Barack Obama, who more than any other president has demanded dangerous "goodwill gestures" from the Jewish state in order to pacify the Palestinian Arabs.

On Tuesday, the White House appeared to shift course when it announced that it was about time for the Palestinians to "give Israel confidence" that the peace process is leading somewhere positive.

Israel "is going to require a credible answer from the Palestinians about the role that Hamas is going to play in the new government, and whether a Palestinian partner and interlocutor can credibly say it recognizes Israel's right to exist," Ben Rhodes, deputy national security advisor for strategic communications, told reporters.

Rhodes' remarks echoed the demands laid out by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit to Washington. It cannot be ignored that the White House appeared to change its tune after Netanyahu addressed the US Congress and won wall-to-wall support from American lawmakers for Israel's positions.

Prior to Rhodes' press conference, Obama and his adminisration had been strongly suggesting that Israel was at fault for the lack of peace in the Middle East.

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