Report: Obama set to strong-arm Netanyahu on Palestinian state

Tuesday, March 05, 2013 |  Israel Today Staff

According to an unconfirmed report citing Israeli sources, US President Barack Obama's first order of business when he visits Israel later this month will be to extract a firm commitment to uproot the Jews living in Judea and Samaria in preparation for the birth of a Palestinian state.

Obama has already messaged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he wants to see a firm timetable for a unilateral Jewish withdrawal when he arrives, reported the news website World Tribune.

One of the quoted sources told the website that "the implication is that if Israel won't give [Obama] something he can work with, then he'll act on his own."

But not everyone is so certain Obama's focus will be a Palestinian state.

Former Israeli Ambassador to the US Zalman Shoval on Sunday noted that a recent important foreign policy symposium in Washington had not at all focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The opposite would certainly be the case were Obama preparing to make a major diplomatic push on that front, explained Shoval.

Shoval, who is a regular informal adviser to Netanyahu, believes the visit will focus much more on the Iranian threat.

It might be that Obama and his administration have realized, like outgoing Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, that the chances of concluding a genuine, long-lasting peace deal with the current Palestinian leadership are next to nil.

Barak told the annual AIPAC conference in Washington that while he continues to advocate a two-state solution, reaching such an agreement together with the Palestinians at this time is "impossible."

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