“U.S. President Barack Obama has demanded a timetable for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank,” says a report in the World Tribune. “Israeli sources said Obama, scheduled to arrive in Israel on March 20, wants a detailed Israeli withdrawal plan from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the president’s visit. The sources said the Israeli plan would be considered in what could be an imminent U.S. initiative to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank in 2014.”
“Obama has made it clear to Netanyahu that his visit is not about photo-ops, but the business of Iran and a Palestinian state,” a source told the Tribune. “The implication is that if Israel won’t give him something he can work with, then he’ll act on his own.”
“The sources said Obama’s demand has sparked concern in the office of the Israeli prime minister.”
Is it true? It certainly feels true. It fits with the President’s approach over the past four years to pressure Netanyahu to make unwise concessions to a Palestinian leadership that can’t even stop Hamas in Gaza from firing thousands of rockets, missiles and mortars at Israeli civilians.
Just last week, Secretary of State Kerry told us the President just wants to “listen” on his visit to Israel, not push his own plan. “We’re not going to go and sort of plunk a plan down and tell everybody what they have to do,” Kerry said in Germany. “I want to consult and the president wants to listen.”
That could be interpreted in two ways. One, this visit doesn’t have a hidden agenda, and dealing with Iran is truly the main topic. Or two, the President isn’t going to impose a plan but to force Netanyahu to give him a plan that will give away far more land and security that Netanyahu and the Israel do or should feel comfortable with.
Peace? Yes. Autonomy for the Palestinian people who deserve the right to run their own daily lives, free from Israeli interference? Absolutely. But under no circumstances should Netanyahu allow himself to be bullied into dividing Jerusalem or creating a sovereign Palestinian state that could endanger the very existence of the Jewish state.
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