'It's possible Abbas is too weak to deliver the go « Thread Started Today at 4:52am »
'It's possible Abbas is too weak to deliver the goods' says Obama
U.S. president tells Orthodox Union delegation: "I'm worried that the window of opportunity for reaching a peace agreement is closing" • PA president says two-state solution based on 1967 borders "may not stay on the table for a long time" • Rumsfeld warns Israel not to trust Obama administration on Iran. Yoni Hirsch, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff
Obama with Netanyahu on a previous visit to the White House. The president refuted claims he was too rigid with Israel during negotiations with the Palestinians. [Archive] |
U.S. President Barack Obama appears to be upping the ante in his efforts to win the Jewish vote in the upcoming presidential election. Joined by White House Chief of Staff Jacob Lew, an Orthodox Jew, Obama met with a delegation of rabbis from the U.S.-based Orthodox Union on Tuesday, and addressed the long-standing criticism of his administration's policy toward Israel.
During the meeting, Obama refuted claims that he was too rigid with Israel in terms of its negotiations with the Palestinians, and insisted that his position is first and foremost pro-Israel. According to Obama, his stance on the settlement construction freeze reflects the same policy as the previous four U.S. administrations.
The president expressed his disappointment in the Palestinians, saying "It's possible that [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas is too weak to deliver the goods. I'm worried that the window of opportunity for reaching a peace agreement is closing."
Abbas, for his part, urged Israel on Tuesday to accept a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders, warning that the opportunity "may not stay on the table for a long time" given the political upheavals caused by the Arab Spring.
Abbas set out the Palestinian case for statehood and full U.N. membership at a World Economic Forum conference in Istanbul, stressing that membership in the U.N. should not prejudice negotiations with Israel.
"I would like to address our Israeli neighbors and say we are seekers of peace and freedom and our people made a major sacrifice when they accepted establishing their state on less than a quarter of the area of historical Palestine," Abbas said.
"So do not turn your backs on this opportunity ... this opportunity may not stay on the table for a long time because the region is witnessing rapid developments," he said.
Meanwhile, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said in an interview on Tuesday that the Israeli government can’t trust that the Obama administration would not leak information regarding an impending strike against Iran.
In a message to Israel, Rumsfeld said, "If I were an Israeli leader, I think I’d have trouble coordinating with the United States government about something like [a strike on Iran] for fear it would be leaked."
When asked if he thought the Israelis would be justified in fearing a leak, Rumsfeld replied: "Oh, my goodness, yes. Absolutely. If you, I mean, the last thing in the world you want to do is put your air forces in jeopardy by having it telegraphed that that’s something you’re doing. And if you tried to coordinate with this administration, I would think that there is at least a reasonable chance that it would leak out.
So I would anticipate that a responsible Israeli government, given the relationship, would very likely have to make a decision on their own, and proceed."