Two articles of note in reference to our 51st State and American Politics.
From the Israel Policy Forum
Obama Loosens Conditions on Palestinian Aid
MJ RosenbergWashington Director of Policy Analysis, Israel Policy Forum Posted April 17, 2009 - 6:45pmCongressional Quarterly is reporting that President Obama is requesting that Congress amend a law that would end the flow of US aid to the Palestinian Authority if a Fatah-Hamas power sharing arrangement is established.
Under current law any Hamas involvement in the Palestinian Authority would end all US aid.
Obama's proposal (included in the 2009 supplemental appropriation) would still ban aid to Hamas or any group affiliated with it until it accepts international conditions but would permit aid to continue if the overall PA remained in full compliance with those conditions.
This would permit the establishment of a government of so-called "technocrats" to be established which could speak for the combined Fatah/Hamas government and still receive US aid.
"It is expected that such a power-sharing government would speak authoritatively for the entire Palestinian Authority government, including its ministries, agencies and instrumentalities," according to the report accompanying the Presidential request.
The new law would also permit aid to flow even to a Palestinian government that did not meet international conditions if the President determines that such aid is in the national interest.
This may be another sign of a shift in US policy. Prime Minister Netanyahu's representative has already visited key Hill offices to warn of the danger that US dollars could fall into Hamas hands and it can be expected that center-right and rightwing Jewish organizations will oppose this change.
Pro-Israel organizations that favor more vigorous US efforts to advance negotiations are likely to welcome this change and make sure Capitol Hill knows it.
From The Israel Policy Forum
Emanuel Says Obama Insists On Implementing Two State Solution, No Ifs, Ands, or Buts
Washington Director of Policy Analysis,
Israel Policy Forum Posted April 16, 2009 - 11:06am
Yedioth Achronoth, the largest circulation daily in Israel, reports today that President Obama intends to see the two-state solution signed, sealed and delivered during his first term.
Rahm Emanuel told an (unnamed) Jewish leader; "In the next four years there is going to be a permanent status arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians on the basis of two states for two peoples, and it doesn't matter to us at all who is prime minister."
He also said that the United States will exert pressure to see that deal is put into place."Any treatment of the Iranian nuclear problem will be contingent upon progress in the negotiations and an Israeli withdrawal from West Bank territory," the paper reports Emanuel as saying. In other words, US sympathy for Israel's position vis a vis Iran depends on Israel's willingness to live up to its commitment to get out of the West Bank and permit the establishment of a Palestinian state there, in Gaza, and East Jerusalem.
Yedioth also reports that Obama is conveying his displeasure with the new Israeli government in several ways. "US administration officials informed Netanyahu that President Obama will not be able to meet with him in early May, while the AIPAC conference is held in Washington. The meeting between the new Israeli premier and the president of the United States is perceived in Israel as a sign that the formation process of the new government has been completed and as a salutation by Israel's close friend. Netanyahu had hoped to capitalize on the opportunity and to meet with Obama during the annual AIPAC conference, but the Americans informed the Israelis that Obama was not going to be 'in town.' That being the case, the inclination among Netanyahu's aides is to cancel his trip to attend the AIPAC conference and to try to secure a date for a meeting with Obama later in May.
"Sources in Washington also said that the Obama administration would not continue the tradition that developed during the Bush administration of hosting Israeli premiers many times during the year, sometimes with just a phone call's advance notice."
So far neither the White House or the Israeli government has commented on the report which, it should be noted, comes from Shimon Shiffer, one of Israel's most highly respected journalists.
I'll say it plain and simple:
I'LL BELIEVE IT WHEN I SEE IT.