The Goldstone Report was and still is a grave problem for Israel. Yet from day one, the Obama Administration pointed to the report’s absurdity and made an effort to prevent a UN discussion on the matter. While the US failed on this front, it voted against the anti-Israel decision, engaged in diplomatic efforts to convince other states to object or abstain, and continues to operate behind the scenes in order to prevent the report from being brought before the Security Council. Should the report eventually get there, the US is expected to veto it.
Moreover, despite the importance of the UN in the Obama Administration’s view as part of its foreign policy, in all matters pertaining to Israel he proved that he can act against his own ideology. The Administration embarked on talks ahead of the so-called “Durban II” convention in Geneva, yet the moment the Americans realized they will be unable to prevent an anti-Israeli text, they quit the conference.
When it comes to the conflict with the Palestinians and with the Arabs in General, Obama continues to speak about Israel’s right to defend itself. In his UN speech he stressed that in the framework of implementing the two-state vision, Israel will be a Jewish state, with all this entails in respect to the refugees.
Meanwhile, in his Cairo speech, Obama was the first American president who in the heart of the Arab world spoke about the unbreakable bond between Israel and the US.
The Israeli public does not grasp the extent of Israel’s dependence on the US, and takes the security and intelligence cooperation for granted. But is there any other state that enjoys this kind of cooperation with the US? Is it possible that Limor Livnat is part of our government yet doesn’t know this?
All American Administrations since the Six-Day War, including George W. Bush’s Administration, objected to the settlements and endorsed the two-state solution. As opposed to previous governments, the Obama Administration is serious in its intention to advance this solution, which Israeli governments ranging from Sharon’s to Netanyahu’s current cabinet openly endorsed.
The Obama Administration’s great mistake was to turn the pressure on Israel in respect to a settlement freeze into a public issue. Several weeks passed in Washington before officials there realized the gravity of the mistake. Now, they aspire to get the sides to talk as soon as possible in order to first resolve the issue of borders, which will make the volatile debate over settlement construction irrelevant.
There is one more issue that needs to be figured out: The personal relationship between Obama and Netanyahu. It is quite clear that we lost the intimacy that Rabin had with Clinton and that Sharon and mostly Olmert had with George W. Bush. The latter two spoke twice a week on occasion, while today there are almost no phone conversations between the leaders.
It is unclear whether this is merely a personal issue, or whether it has to do with Obama’s character; he is not an emotional person, but rather, very methodical. Indeed, it appears that Obama does not develop personal relations with world leaders. Even during British PM Gordon Brown’s visit, headlines in London addressed the dissipation of the special relationship between the United Kingdom and the US.
The Obama Administration is not free of mistakes, yet it is far from being the hostile Administration that is being portrayed in Israel.
Yitzhak Benhorin is Ynet’s correspondent in WashingtonPart 2 of analysis