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Reserved Relations with Israel: Obama's New Middle East Diplomacy - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The Obama Administration is hoping to revive the peace process in the Middle East. Part of the strategy is to distance Washington from Israel.

The members of the leading pro-Israel lobby in the US were visibly moved as they listened to Vice President Joe Biden's speech last Tuesday. It was music to the ears of the 6,500 delegates of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee who had gathered in the Washington Convention Center.

Israeli President Shimon Peres meets with US President Barack Obama on May 5. "With all the change you will hear about, there is one endure
ng, essential principle that will not change; and that is our commitment to the peace and security of the state of Israel," he told his audience.

The delegates not only applauded Biden, they cheered him as loud as they could.

Yet, in the America of President Barack Obama no one can be certain of avoiding change. That's something the AIPAC members would have realized as they watched the evening news a short time later. At almost exactly the same time that Biden was giving his speech another member of the Obama administration was making a memorable appearance before the United Nations in New York. Her name was Rose Gottemoeller.

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:27:58 PM EST
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King Abdullah of Jordan's ultimatum: peace now or it's war next year - Times Online

America is putting the final touches to a hugely ambitious peace plan for the Middle East, aimed at ending more than 60 years of conflict between Israel and the Arabs, according to Jordan's King Abdullah, who is helping to bring the parties together.

The Obama Administration is pushing for a comprehensive peace agreement that would include settling Israel's conflict with the Palestinians and its territorial disputes with Syria and Lebanon, King Abdullah II told The Times. Failure to reach agreement at this critical juncture would draw the world into a new Middle East war next year. "If we delay our peace negotiations, then there is going to be another conflict between Arabs or Muslims and Israel in the next 12-18 months," the King said.

Details of the plan are likely to be thrashed out in a series of diplomatic moves this month. Chief among them is President Obama's meeting with Binyamin Netanyahu, the right-wing Israeli Prime Minister, in Washington a week today. The initiative could form the centrepiece for Mr Obama's much-anticipated address to the Muslim world in Cairo on June 4. A peace conference could then take place involving all the parties as early as July or August. Such an ambitious project has not been attempted since 1991, when George Bush senior's Administration assembled all the parties for a peace conference in Madrid.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:31:09 PM EST
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