Obama to push Arab states on Israel

Posted: May 17, 2009 by Jonathan Boyko in Israel, Middle East, Palestinians, Peace Process, Politics, US

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BARACK OBAMA WILL push Arab states to “introduce small confidence-building measures towards Israel”, effectively giving Obama the opportunity to push Israel forward on the peace deal with the Palestinians:

According to the report, the United States is looking at Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates as potential participants in the initiative.

Obama discussed the need for confidence-building measures in his meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah three weeks ago. According to the report, the symbolic gestures may include the option of direct calling between Israel and Arab states and permissions for commercial Israeli planes to fly through the air space of these states.

As the article points out, however, acceptance of such measures by Arab states is highly unlikely.

It should be noted, that Obama appears to have taken uncommon route to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, attempting to push Arab states directly on the Arab initiative, which states that Israel would be recognized by all Arab nations if it would pull back to 1967 borders and allow return of the ‘refugees’. Obama, seeing Netanyahu’s reluctance to go for a two-state deal, aims at changing Israeli PM’s mindset on concessions to Palestinian cause. Best step for achieving that is convincing the Arab states to display willingness to accept Israel.

Tragically, it is unlikely Arab states would accept such initiatives, which would allow radicals within their countries to rebel against current leaders. Both Saudi Arabia and Egypt govern their states with an iron fist, effectively subduing opposition.

Yet, antagonism towards Israel is at its all times high nowadays, completely axing any plans Arab or Muslim governments might have on strengthening ties with the Jewish state.

US administration officials are probably aware of this situation, hence it is conceivable Obama planned this move ahead of time, in order to compel Netanyahu into committing to the two-state solution scheme.

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