Obama wants to see trust-building steps
WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama seeks to convince Arab states to introduce small confidence-building measures towards Israel, in order to help promote the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the Washington Post reported Sunday.
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.
However, it is doubtful whether Arab states will be willing to undertake such trust-building measures before Israel delivers on its pledge to freeze settlement construction and allows greater Palestinian freedom of movement in the West Bank.
Earlier Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu landed in Washington ahead of his meeting with President Obama. Israeli officials say they expect a warm welcome at the White House, but are aware that the US administration is likely to present several demands to Israel in respect to talks with the Palestinians and the removal of unauthorized West Bank settlements and outposts.