Obama Ready for Israel Face-off on Peace

US President Barack Obama’s team is engaged in preemptive discussions with Democratic congressmen in anticipation of a face-off with Israel’s new far-right government on the two-state peace solution.

"In an unprecedented move, the Obama administration is readying for a possible confrontation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by briefing Democratic Congressmen on the peace process," Haaretz reported on Wednesday, April 8.

According to the Israeli daily, only a week after the right-wing government took power, differences are already emerging with the US over peace efforts that could develop into an all-out confrontation.

"The Obama administration is expecting a clash with Netanyahu over his refusal to support the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel."

Obama wants Netanyahu to honor all commitments made by previous Israeli governments.

Shortly after the hawkish premier refused to support the two-state solution, US administration officials held several meetings with Democratic congressmen.

They discussed disagreements with Tel Aviv over the peace process and creation of a Palestinian state.

"The preemptive briefing is meant to foil the possibility that Netanyahu may try to bypass the administration by rallying support in Congress," said Haaretz.

President Obama has reiterated his administration’s commitment to a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on the two-state solution.

"I believe that peace in the Middle East is possible," Obama said during his visit to Turkey earlier this week.

"I think it will be based on two states side by side, a Palestinian state and a Jewish state."

Elephant Run Amok

As the Obama team ready for a diplomatic face-off, many in Israel fear that the far-right government is destroying ties with their country’s closest ally.

Yohanan Plesner, a lawmaker from the opposition Kadima party, is particularly concerned about comments by firebrand Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

"At such a sensitive time, when Israeli-US ties are about to be redefined, Lieberman is damaging the relationship and putting at risk America’s commitment to supporting Israel," Plesner told Yediot Ahronot.

Since taking office only last week, Lieberman has repeatedly claimed that peace talks with Palestinians hit a dead-end.

He insisted that his government would not abide by earlier understandings, including those reached during the US-hosted 2007 Annapolis peace talks.

"We have never interfered with other people’s affairs and we expect of others not stand with a stopwatch in hand," Lieberman told members of his ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party Tuesday.

"The elephant continues to run amok and there is no one to stop him," said Eitan Cabel, a lawmaker for the Labor Party, a member of the coalition government.

"It must be stopped now because the man’s lack of control over his mouth causes irreparable harm."

Yuli Tamir, another Labor member, agrees.

"People listen to Lieberman in the world, they just don’t agree with him.

"His words are testament to the fact that the current government is a right-wing government that is disconnected form the world."

(IslamOnline.net and Agencies)

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