Obama. Has had enough of Netanyahu?
Photo: Noam Moskowitz
WASHINGTON – The chances of a personal alliance growing between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama are "just about zero", the Politico website said Monday.
According to the American political newspaper, the White House had tried to give Netanyahu the benefit of the doubt as a prospective peace partner for two years, viewing him as a leader who shared US goals, but this changed around Thanksgiving due to the Israeli leader's refusal to continue the settlement construction freeze.
"The notion that the two men could prove a productive diplomatic odd couple has been tossed aside because, in the American view, the worst expectations about Netanyahu’s intransigence have been confirmed," the paper wrote.
According to Washington sources, Netanyahu chose the constraints of a coalition that he steered further right this month, and should not expect any help or sympathy from the US.
Meanwhile, there is growing doubt in the White House about whether Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas can ever be a consistent, strong American ally. These conclusions, Politico writes, "have brought a distinct frost to administration relations with both men — a chill that for now seems likely to freeze the chances for any new US peace initiative in the region."
According to Politico, the White House has lost interest in the Middle East for another reason: The departure of Obama's two senior aides, Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, who were personally deeply involved in the Mideast talks, viewing them as historic and politically promising opportunities.
The two are being replaced with staffers with little demonstrated interest and few ties to Israel, Bill Daley and David Plouffe, who are more interested in preparing the president for the 2010 elections.
The Politico article joins a series of American editorials published recently on the Obama administration's disappointment with Prime Minister Netanyahu. The most prominent writer was the New York Times' Thomas Friedman, who said the US must stop mediating between Israel and the Palestinians until the parties ask the Americans to return.
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