Barack Obama hints at tougher line on Israel
From The TimesMay 5, 2009
Tom Baldwin in
The Obama Administration has signalled a tougher approach
“You’re not going to like my saying this,” he warned the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) before adding that the Jewish state should not build any more settlements on Palestinian territory, and should “dismantle existing outposts and allow Palestinians freedom of movement”.
President Obama later held a White House meeting with Shimon Peres, his Israeli counterpart, who holds a largely ceremonial position. But the US Administration’s message appeared to be addressed to the new right-wing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who is due to visit the White House on May 18.
Mr Netanyahu has dismayed American, Arab and European
officials by pointedly refusing to back Palestinian statehood since taking
office on March 31. In his own speech to Aipac, sent via satellite link, he
said: “We are prepared to resume peace negotiations without any delay and
without any preconditions — the sooner the better.” Saeb Erekat, the senior
Palestinian negotiator, however, criticised Mr Netanyahu’s speech for its
“vagueness” on core issues such as the status of
Aipac has demonstrated that it — and
Aipac’s 6,000 delegates are being urged to bombard Capitol Hill with demands that Congress support ever more draconian sanctions against Iran whose Government has threatened to wipe Israel off the face of the map.
Mr Biden used his speech to reiterate that the
He added that
Rahm Emanuel, the White House Chief of Staff, was, however, reported to have linked efforts to thwart Iran’s nuclear programme — “the number one threat in the Middle East” — with progress in the peace process.
He told a private meeting of Aipac donors that the task of
building an international coalition against
Last month, Hillary Clinton, the
General James Jones, Mr Obama’s National Security Adviser,
is also said to have told a European foreign minister that — unlike the Bush
Administration — the White House was now ready to be “forceful” with
“The new Administration will convince
President Ahmadinejad of Iran was today meeting the heads of ten hard-line Palestinian groups — including Hamas — on a visit to Syria, sending what one of the leaders said would be a message to the new right-wing Israeli Government.
The Iranian leader arrived in the afternoon and went to the
People’s Palace in
Contact our advertising team for advertising and sponsorship in Times Online, The Times and The Sunday Times, or place your advertisement.
Copyright 2009 Times Newspapers Ltd.
Please report any
broken links to
Copyright © 1988-2012 irfi.org. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer