Monday, May 11, 2009

Same old story: Provocateurs make demands; victims in the hotseat

Netanyahu meeting with Obama decides Mid-East’s future, says Abdullah

President Obama’s critical meeting with Binyamin Netanyahu next week has become the acid test for the Administration’s commitment to peace in the Middle East, King Abdullah of Jordan said yesterday.

The monarch does not conceal his feelings about the Israeli leader. He described their last encounter – 10 years ago when he had just come to the throne – as the “least pleasant” of his reign. But he, and President Mubarak of Egypt, are expected to meet the Israeli leader before his trip to Washington, where the future course of the region could be decided.

The King said that he was prepared to believe what Israelis have told him — that a right-wing Government in Israel is better able to deliver peace than the Left.

“All eyes will be looking to Washington,” he said. “If there are no clear signals and no clear directives to all of us, there will be a feeling that this is just another American Government that is going to let us all down.”

If Israel procrastinated on a two-state solution, or if there was no clear American vision on what should happen this year, the “tremendous credibility” that Mr Obama had built up in the Arab world would evaporate overnight.

And if peace negotiations were delayed, there would be another conflict between Arabs or Muslims and Israel in the next 12-18 months, with implications far beyond the Middle East.

“If the call is in May that this is not the right time or we are not interested, then the world is going to be sucked into another conflict in the Middle East,” the King said.

He broke off from his busy schedule hosting the Pope in Jordan to give his warning to The Times. He was the first Arab leader to call on President Obama in Washington two weeks ago, and is now leading the hectic Arab efforts to respond to the Administration’s determination to seek a comprehensive peace.

Once again, it's all up to the U.S. and Israel to give the Arabs what they want - or else.

Let's see, the Arabs will eventually recognize Israel's right to exist, allow Israelis entry into Arab countries and allow El Al Airlines to overfly Arab territory without being shot down. In return, all the Israelis have to do is give up even more of their territory than they already have and agree "to talk" about the future status of Jerusalem.

When do the Israelis stop allowing themselves to be blackmailed by dishonest Arab brokers and start dealing from a position of strength? I think the time is now and I would hope that Netanyahu's response to Obama's presentation of these Arab demands will be one word: ENOUGH!

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