Monday, May 31, 2010

Israel "expendable" or Obama "confused"?


...Over the weekend, Israeli officials were angered and surprised by the Obama administration’s decision to support the vote at the UN by 189 member states of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to single out Israel for its alleged possession of nuclear weapons...

The vote Friday garnered an unusually harsh Israeli retort over the weekend, in which the Prime Minister’s Office said the resolution “ignores the realities of the Middle East” and focuses “on the only country in the world that is actually threatened with annihilation.” Toronto on Sunday, ...told some 7,000 people ...that “the establishment of the State of Israel has given the Jewish people the power to repel the attacks on the Jewish people. ...Israel will never give up the power to defend itself.

Referring to Iran as the number one threat to Israel, Netanyahu said, “We have to ensure that this regime, the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism, does not acquire the weapons of mass death.”

The American vote in support of the resolution on Israel’s nuclear facilities has cast a shadow over the Tuesday meeting in the White House between Netanyahu and Obama. That meeting, which was originally intended to deal with recent advances in the diplomatic process as US-mediated proximity talks with the Palestinian Authority began, will now deal also with the nuclear issue. “This vote left us feeling that the White House is saying that Israel’s needs are expendable in the search for international consensus,” a diplomatic source said on Sunday.

...Netanyahu is expected to use Tuesday’s meeting to ask why the US allowed the resolution to pass ...The answer may reflect a confused American policy...

Obama "confused"
(Photo by: Associated Press)

...Netanyahu used his speech in Toronto to reiterate his long-standing insistence on a demilitarized Palestinian state as a key Israeli demand in peace talks, saying that Israel couldn’t afford a third Iranian presence – in addition to Lebanon and Gaza – overlooking the hills of Tel Aviv.

“We must insure that any future Palestinian state is effectively demilitarized – not just a paper agreement. We’ve had a lot of paper agreements with the international community. We had one in Lebanon – it didn’t work. And we had one in Gaza that didn’t work. Here we must have effective arrangements on the ground, in which Israel and Israel alone can vouch for its security. We’re prepared to make compromises for peace, but I’m not willing to make any compromises on our security,” he said.

Netanyahu also insisted that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.... “Just we as we are asked to recognize a nation state for the Palestinian people, the Palestinians will have to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people,” he said.

*Oded Ben-Josef contributed to this report.
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