Netanyahu and Obama meet twice at White House, disagreements on east Jerusalem remain
Rapture Forum Staff: Chris
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in the U.S. early this week to address the AIPAC conference as well as to hold very high profile talks with U.S. President Obama and several other members of the U.S. political echelon. Netanyahu addressed the AIPAC conference and declared that Jewish building in the city was no different than building in Tel Aviv. Netanyahu basically told the AIPAC that Jerusalem wasn't a settlement and that it was the capital of the Jewish state and would remain as such. The YNetNews website reported:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to say that Jerusalem is not a settlement in the annual AIPAC conference in Washington on Monday. Netanyahu will address negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and the relations with the US during his speech. The prime minister is also expected to comment on the Iranian nuclear threat, and say that a nuclear Iran may bring about the end of the nuclear peace age the world has enjoyed these past 65 years.
Netanyahu was also said to declare that Jewish building in the city would not stop as the building in the city had been the policy of Israel's previous 42 governments and would continue to be so through his administration. This is undoubtedly going to be a cause for concern with the U.S. administration as they had hoped to pressure Netanyahu into further compromises in order to appease the Palestinians and jump start the Middle East "piece" process. So far, Netanyau seems to be resisting the pressure placed on him by the current U.S. administration.
In what was seen a possible source of further tension between the U.S. and Israel, it was announced shortly before the Netanyahu and Obama meeting that Israel had approved another 20 housing permits in the east Jerusalem area. The Israel government countered by saying that the PM Netanyahu did not know anything about the announcement. It was also further reported that the building permits were further approved in 2009. The Haaretz news agency reported:
Israel will continue building in all of its Jerusalem municipality and a construction plan that raised questions during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's current trip to Washington is nothing new, Netanyahu's spokesman said in a statement on Wednesday. "There is no limitation on the right of property in Jerusalem. Jews and Arabs can buy and sell freely private property and homes in all the city, and that is the reality," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.
The statement was issued shortly after U.S. President Barack Obama's administration, at odds with Israel over settlement building in East Jerusalem, said U.S. officials were seeking clarification of Israel's plan for a further expansion of Jewish housing in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. "Regarding this specific case, the decision for building permits was made several months ago in 2009," the Israeli statement said. "The report that a new decision was made on this at the time of the prime minister's visit to Washington is not true."
Exactly why the announcement came just hours or minutes before the Netanyahu and Obama meeting are not known, however, some sources have speculated that this may have been a left-wing attempt to torpedo the talks between Netanyahu and Obama. The left-wing party in Israel would like nothing more than to further inflame the political spat between Netanyahu's right-wing political coalition and the U.S. administration in light of the crisis over the past two weeks.
The Haaretz news agency is reporting that despite two meetings between Netanyahu and Obama disagreements remain between both sides. It appears at this time that Netanyahu is holding firm despite the pressure being exerted on him by the U.S. administration that wants to see further Israeli concessions and "good will gestures" towards the Palestinians. The U.S. administration believes these Israeli concessions will lead to a revival of talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. However, the current situation is rather muddy in that very little is being released to the public about the meetings and that there seems to be a cloud of secrecy around them. It was noted that Netanyahu and Obama meet without the standard photo ops and other political gestures shown to strong allies. It was suggested that Obama was purposefully dressing down Netanyahu ahead of their meetings. To me this was rude and very disrespectful to a strong and reliable ally. I think the Obama administration should be ashamed of themselves for acting the way they have over the past several weeks. The Haaretz news article reports:
The meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House on Tuesday did not resolve the differences of opinion on the future of the peace process with the Palestinians or Israeli construction in East Jerusalem. Netanyahu canceled a series of interviews and briefings with the American media, scheduled for Wednesday morning, in order to focus on the serious disagreements with the Obama administration.
Netanyahu arrived at the White House at 5:30 P.M. local time Tuesday, and held one on one talks with Obama for an hour and a half. The meeting ended in serious disagreement; after the talks - in an unprecedented move - Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and their advisers retired to a side room in the White House for consultations, while Obama left for his residential quarters. Some 90 minutes later, Netanyahu requested a second meeting with the president, who returned to the Oval Office for a further half-hour conversation with the prime minister.
But the second meeting between the two also ended in disagreement, and they could not even reach a consensus on a joint statement. Netanyahu and Ehud Barak then left the White House for the Israeli embassy in Washington, leaving the prime minister's aides, Yitzhak Molcho, Ron Dermer and Nir Chefetz, as well as Ambassador Michael Oren, to hold talks with Obama's people. Only at 2 A.M. did these consultations end, and Netanyahu and his entourage return to their hotel.
To me, these above description of the talks do not sound good. I would imagine that Obama may have given Netanyahu and Israel an ultimatum in which resulted in the immediate consultations. It sounds very odd that Netanyahu would request a second meeting very shortly after Obama had retired to his residence. However, with the way things are going these days nothing seems to surprise me anymore.
I'd like to ask all the readers of the Rapture Report to pray for the Israeli leaders, especially PM Netanyahu, as they face a very ungodly U.S. administration that is clearly turning it's back on Israel. Let us pray that Netanyahu and his entourage be given supernatural wisdom, knowledge, and understanding to confront and repel the evil attacks on them from the anti-semitic Obama administration. The U.S. has long supported Israel and for that we have been blessed beyond measure, but I am afraid that this all will be coming to an end soon as Obama repositions his focus from the healthcare issue to the Middle East stage. I would not be surprised to see heavy and forceful pressure exerted on Israel in the future. May we all pray for the peace of Jerusalem during these difficult and critical times.
As always we will continue to watch the situation on the ground between the U.S. and Israel and provide you with thoughtful and insightful commentary to the current events as they relate to Bible prophecy.