On the eve of his departure for the Middle East, Pres. Obama has laid down a further demand of the Netanyahu government. He expects a new Israeli “plan” (read, settlement freeze and two-state position) by July:
United States President Barack Obama intends to give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu four to six weeks to provide an “updated position” regarding construction in West Bank settlements and the two-state principle.
While in Saudi Arabia, Obama will ask King Abdullah to give a green light to moderate Gulf states to resume diplomatic contacts with Israel. The new Israeli position would be the quid pro quo.
Rhetorical question: why is it that no previous U.S. administration was able to come anywhere near this clear and forthright an approach to U.S.-Israel relations? I know, I know. There are lots of reasons for this. But as I watch this unfold I marvel that it took so long to break this logjam and that no previous president was able to do it. I realize that Obama has not “done it” yet. But he’s a damn sight closer than anyone has been in the past three or four decades and I give him a lot of credit for that.