The crisis between Israel and the U.S. turned into an unprecedented confrontation when Obama laid it all on the table and asked the Prime Minister, “How far are you willing to go when the negotiations reach the final stage?” Netanyahu did not respond. Ma’ariv (Hebrew), March 25
Despite radiating optimism and claiming that the Israelis and Americans have found the “golden path” to compromise, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu may be further away from achieving an understanding with the Americans than he was when the latest round of talks began. Ma’ariv, quoting unnamed White House sources, reports that no solution was found to the disagreement on settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
According to Ma’ariv, the deteriorating level of trust between the Americans and Israelis reached record lows when Netanyahu refused to share his vision of a final resolution of the Middle East conflict when directly asked to do so by the American President.
Netanyahu has in the past made statements which indicated that he is unwilling to compromise with the Palestinians. The Obama administration, however, has consistently claimed that the Israelis are willing to do what is necessary to obtain peace. Shortly after Obama met with Netanyahu last May, the Israeli Prime Minister agreed to consider restarting negotiations with the American- supported Abbas government.
Netanyahu told Obama that he must consult with his cabinet before responding to some of the American requests. There is speculation in Israel that the Prime Minister may re-form his government to include the “centrist” Kadima party, which claims to be more open to negotiations. U.S. envoy Senator George Mitchell will return to the region after the Passover holiday to continue discussions.
I wonder if the U.S. President is going to have a Passover Seder at the White House this year.