June 11, 2009

Obama Shows Israel The Soles Of His Feet; Israel Set To Show Obama Its Pimp Hand

Good thing Bibi is in office.

Netanyahu's refusal to commit to a building freeze in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and to endorse the goal of establishing a Palestinian state -- both set out in a 2003 peace "road map" -- has opened a rare rift in U.S.-Israeli relations.

Signalling the direction Netanyahu could take when he delivers his policy speech on Sunday, Israeli President Shimon Peres raised in a meeting with a European envoy the possibility of an interim Palestinian state with provisional borders.

That option, which has been rejected by the Palestinians, is part of the road map, a plan backed by Washington.

Briefing their counterparts in the Quartet of Middle East mediators after talks with Netanyahu, U.S. officials voiced scepticism he would make the clear, far-reaching and tangible commitments on settlements or statehood that Obama has sought, participants said on condition of anonymity.

"The Americans are not satisfied with what they have been told," a senior Western diplomat said.

Netanyahu wants to negotiate a compromise whereby Washington would permit at least some "natural growth", or construction within existing settlements to accommodate growing families, but, so far, Obama has refused to back down, diplomats said.

Well, nice to see Reuters is blaming Israel again.

As an aside, I have no idea if Obama's "soles of my feet" photo was intentionally an insult to Israel. Personally, I think he is just trying to further that "cool cat" persona. But then again, any time Israel tells Western diplomats to pound sand, it's all good.

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