Netanyahu Visits Washington, Jewish Settlements Remain Sticking Point
July 6, 2010
(ChattahBox)—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be meeting with President Obama on Tuesday. And unlike his visit in March, with no press photo opportunities, Obama plans to hold a joint press conference with Netanyahu. But the expansion of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem still remain a sticking point to Mideast peace talks.
BiBi’s visit was rescheduled from a state visit planned for last month, but was canceled after the Israeli attack on the aid flotilla bound for Gaza, which left 10 activists dead and 30 more wounded. Israel’s attack on the aid ship provoked international condemnation.
Besides the weighty matter of peace in the Middle east, today’s meeting also holds political calculations for the Obama administration. With the mid-term elections looming, the Israel lobby and right-wing neo-conservatives in the U.S. are ready to pounce on Obama’s poor treatment of Israel. And a NY Times piece out today, points out that a good portion of the revenue used to expand Jewish settlements has been raised by non-profit groups in the United States:
“Obama is not likely to risk another diplomatic clash with Netanyahu with pivotal U.S. congressional elections looming in November and pro-Israel sentiment strong among American lawmakers and voters.”
“In a story coinciding with Netanyahu’s visit, the New York Times said U.S. and Israeli public records showed at least 40 American groups collected more than $200 million in tax-deductible gifts for Jewish settlement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem over the last decade.”
Today’s press conference should provide an interesting political dynamic.
Photo Source: White House Flickr