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Saturday April 2, 2011 9:45 AM (EST+7)
ANALYSIS: Netanyahu, Barack plan speeches to each other

Read more: Benjamin Netanyahu, Barack Obama, Congress, Knesset, peace process, negotiations, Palestinian statehood, Libya, Iran

RAMALLAH, April 2, 2011 (JMCC) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address a joint session of Congress in seven weeks, while US President Barack Obama may be coming to Israel to address the Knesset.

In this analysis piece, Haaretz writer Aluf Benn tries to discern what each will say when they give speeches addressed essentially to each other.

The prime minister is afraid of the unpredictable Obama, who has helped boot out Hosni Mubarak and is bombing Muammar Gadhafi. At the top of the political pyramid in Jerusalem they see the U.S. president as a hostile element, who, were it not for his political constraints, would likely join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. In fact, there is considerable evidence supporting this view - for example, the administration's explanation for vetoing the UN resolution condemning the settlements: It revealed that there was agreement in principle with the resolution, and only reservations about the procedures involved.

Plus there was a recent piece in The Economist saying that Obama had asked British Prime Minister David Cameron and other leaders to evince toughness toward Israel (the White House has denied this ). And also, Obama's remarks before American Jewish leaders about two weeks ago, to the effect that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is serious and Netanyahu is not, were quoted this week in The Washington Post.

Israel's prime minister, meanwhile, is busy with his Iran is Libya campaign, calling for the West to threaten Iran with attack if it continues to pursue its nuclear program. Maybe in the future this will serve as a justification for an Israeli attack (along the lines of: We suggested that you attack and you refused, so we didn't have any alternative ). But Iran, with all its importance, is less pressing than the Palestinian problem.







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