The papers are flush with the 'day-after' commentaries surrounding Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu's meeting with President Barak Obama at the White House. Part of what's feeding that are the rounds the Israeli leader is making on the American talk shows.
What do we know; the leaders spoke openly and in harmony on the things they agree on. They did not address publically, the issues that they don't.
What does this say? Both men need each other at this point in time politically. And when it comes to politics – this means spin… and some folks are pointing out still how Obama went out of his way, maybe even over the top, to give the photo ops and sound bites favorable to the position of 'the bond between the two countries'.
Blanket statements about 'moving forward' and 'unbreakable ties' are good for the perception of peace building – but where the rubber meets the road Special Envoy George Mitchell really has little to show for the Administration's declared intention to draw the Israeli's and Palestinians together. On the contrary – as is being pointed out in the press here in the region – what's there to tangibly to show on either side?
So what happened? Obama has made Bibi his good friend now, not a distant and troublesome figure. Mr. Netanyahu needs the clout that offers to carry back here to Jerusalem. When Netanyahu returns home he will be facing much pressure from all corners politically – issues like settlement freeze, settlement building, Jewish settlement construction within the Arab areas of Jerusalem, Gaza down south, Hezbollah up north, along with Iran to name a few. On all these issues – with the exception of Hezbollah, America and Israel have been wrestling with each other.
On any of these things Mr. Netanyahu's government can be taken down politically and this would make Obama's drive towards peace slow down at best – or derail at worst. That is why things have apparently changed this time around for Israel's favor. Some see change between the two countries – albeit slight in the bigger scope of things, is indeed occurring. Israeli's chief intelligence officer has alluded to it and so has one of America's top military men. Realistically it will not be a change in policy – but a change perhaps in just how the policy is carried out.
People are pointing to the pleasant overtures as a mild mask to the message that was made the first time Mr. Obama saw Mr. Netanyahu in Washington. He wants to see progress, not impediments, made in the peace process for the Israelis and the Palestinians – and he's expecting it sooner rather than latter.
Middle East Correspondent