zondag 17 mei 2009

Verwachtingen van gesprek Netanjahoe met Obama

Netanjahoe zal zich wel/niet voor een Palestijnse staat uitspreken, en Obama zal Israel onder druk zetten om concessies te doen aan de Palesitjnen, of is van mening dat het niet zijn plaats is om Israels veiligheidsbehoeften te bepalen, en de VS zal de druk op Iran om zijn kernprogramma op te schorten wel/niet opvoeren. Het is allemaal gissen en speculeren.


Last update - 11:43 17/05/2009
Netanyahu unlikely to back Palestinian state in Obama meet
By Barak Ravid, Natasha Mozgovaya and Mazal Mualem 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is unlikely to state support for the establishment of a Palestinian state when he meets with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House Sunday, an aide to the prime minister said. However, in a bid to soften edgy relations with Washington, Netanyahu will propose that joint teams draft a new road map for the Palestinian peace process and a new strategy on Iran.

At the meeting with Obama, Netanyahu intends to emphasize his intention to resume the peace talks with the Palestinians soon, but with the participation of the moderate Arab states. Establishing diplomatic relations between Israel and the moderate Arab states could significantly advance the peace process with the Palestinians, he will say.

Obama is expected to support this concept, but will ask Netanyahu to start out with a gesture toward the Palestinians and to halt all construction in the West Bank settlements. Obama will also ask Netanyahu to declare Israel's support for the "two state for two people's" principle.

A senior Jerusalem source said Saturday that the visit was intended to present only preliminary positions. "At the next stage the teams will try to reduce the differences between the sides and examine ways of advancing the peace process and strategic matters," the source said.

Netanyahu's aides said the preparation talks before the meeting were effective and no conflict was expected at the dialogue with Obama.

President Shimon Peres spoke to Netanyahu a few times last week and impressed on him the importance of avoiding an overt confrontation with Obama at any cost. This could have disastrous implications on Israel's national security, Peres said.

Netanyahu will ask Obama to tighten the coordination between the two administrations in defense and state affairs, and to set up communication channels and joint work teams on the Iranian and Palestinian issues, a source in the prime minister's bureau said.

Contrary to Netanyahu's aide, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Saturday that the prime minister was ready to declare his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"I believe Netanyahu is ready for a process whose end is two states for two peoples," Barak, who is also chairman of the Labor party, told Channel 2 shortly before Netanyahu left for Washington. "Even Netanyahu understands that the ultimate end of the process is two peoples living side by side in peace and security," he said.

However, an aide of the prime minister's said Netanyahu is unlikely to display flexibility on the "two states for two nations" principle. He will tell Obama that any agreement would oblige the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish nation-state.

Netanyahu is expected to tell the American president that he objects to halting construction in the settlements completely, but is willing to take steps to dismantle the illegal outposts, an aide said.

He will tell Obama that the outposts are a legal matter which Barak has been negotiating with the settlers, in order to reach an agreement.

Netanyahu will also tell Obama that without dealing with Iran it would be difficult to advance the peace process with the Palestinians. He will ask Obama to coordinate the American-Iranian dialogue with Israel, and stress the importance of acting firmly against Iran should this dialogue fail.

Ahead of Netanyahu's trip, meanwhile, senior Obama administration officials said in a press briefing Saturday that Middle East peace agreements were in U.S. national interests. They also noted that Obama and Netanyahu would discuss the issue of West Bank settlement building.

"The meeting on Monday is a continuation of a very close relationship between the U.S. and Israel - very close friendship and cooperation on many issues," said one official. "This is [the president's] first opportunity to take the next step to deepen and expand this cooperation. And I'm quite sure it will be the first of many such conversations."

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