Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another



Obama backs Bibi on direct talks

Print Email
Netanyahu and Obama last week.(Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s been quite some time since the U.S.-Israeli relationship felt like the old normal. But after last week, which featured Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Oval Office photo-op—not to be confused with March’s secretive and desperate and frank conversation, nor early June’s almost-meeting which was cancelled when the flotilla happened—it seems that Netanyahu and President Obama have reached some sort of equilibrium. Frenemies, call them.

It would be foolish to believe that the bad blood between the two men, the product of specific events to occur on their watches as well as each man’s opposing politics and temperaments, has simply gone away. One doesn’t see Obama inviting Bibi to a White Sox game the next time he’s stateside; and as for a trip to Israel, well, that’s not in the cards this year. But, as you know if you have a frenemy (and who doesn’t?), you may distrust your frenemy, or worse, on the inside; but to the outside world, and for all practical effects, your frenemy is basically your friend.

Most concretely, it was the act of a friend for President Obama to come out in favor of direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority as soon as possible, which is Netanyahu’s position. President Abbas, by contrast, continues to insist on further U.S.-sponsored “proximity talks” to hammer out some shared assumptions before direct talks are broached. Obama phoned Abbas after meeting with Bibi to apply the screws. “We’re under pressure to agree to direct negotiations with Israel,” a Palestinian official reportedly confirmed.

The next step toward direct talks would be Arab League approval. And—whaddya know?—here is Netanyahu telling his Cabinet that he will travel to meet with the ailing Hosni Mubarak on Tuesday to try to enlist him in his effort to get direct talks underway. Will the 83-year-old Egyptian dictator’s flirtations with mortality, and concomitant desire for a legacy, aid Netanyahu’s case? Maybe. But far more persuasive to Mubarak, when Bibi asks him to help secure Arab League approval for direct talks, will be his knowledge that both countries’ biggest patron is firmly behind the Israeli prime minister.

Obama to P.A.: Start Direct Talks [JPost]
Abbas: No Direct Talks Before Progress Made in Proximity Talks [Haaretz]
Earlier: Obama and Bibi Tag-Team for Friendship

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

Ken Besig Israel says:

First of all there is no bad blood between Obama and Netanyahu, if by that one means that they have both humiliated and embarrassed the other. Barack Obama personally, deliberately and consciously humiliated and embarrassed the Prime Minister of Israel, Benyamin Netanyahu. Israel’s PM has done nothing of the kind to President Obama.
Secondly unless there has been a 180 degree change in the Palestinian approach to the talks, direct or indirect, the talks will go nowhere. That is, if the Palestinians continue to use the talks as just another front in their war to eliminate Israel and carry out a genocide against the Jews, then the talks will stalemate immediately.
Finally there has been no change in the Obama administration’s cold, distant, and largely destructive attitude towards Israel. This is due primarily to Obama’s personal ignorance of the importance of Israel to the United States, coupled with Obama’s own personal animosity and hostility towards Israel and the Jewish People, along with that of the US Department of State. Thus after November when the Jewish vote and it’s campaign contributions to the Democrat Party is no longer in the balance, the Obama will resume it’s bitter and unreasonable attacks on Israel, perhaps the only real and reliable ally America has in the Middle East and possibly the entire world.

alan says:

Hasn’t Netanyahu learned? You dont talk with or negotiate with a Moslem. You defeat him and then dictate terms of surrender. All their words to an unbeliever are lies.

Thank you, I have just been looking for info approximately this subject for a long time and yours is the greatest I have found out till now. But, what in regards to the bottom line? Are you positive concerning the source?

Thank you for any other magnificent article. Where else may just anybody get that kind of info in such a perfect method of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week, and I am at the look for such information.


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.


Obama backs Bibi on direct talks

More on Tablet:

Wolf Blitzer Explores His Jewish Roots

By David Meir Grossman — CNN host visits Yad Vashem and Auschwitz for the network’s ‘Roots’ series