Brain Bush’s Blog

Round Two Washington

  • By : Brian Bush
  • July 6, 2010
  • 11:31 am

Hi Everybody,

The big news of course is Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu's meeting with President Barak Obama. There's so much going into this – lets see if we can summarize some of the things around it.

From here in Jerusalem, Mr. Netanyahu's task is huge – he's got to show cooperation with the US administration. Obama is going to talk about Israel's nuclear arms, and Bibi is going to ask him to recognize the settlement blocks in the West Bank – the area Palestinians want for their future state.

Israel's tried to, at the last minuet, make things look good… thus yesterday, the blockade upon Gaza was loosened officially in wake of the Turkish Flotilla incident last month. Netanyahu will be discussing that, but the diplomatic fallout continues for Israel as Turkey is threatening to break all ties with Israel over the 9 deaths on board.

Diplomacy will be the subject of a lot of their time together at the White House – who is frustrated with Mr. Netanyahu and the lack of progress that has been made concerning the Proximity Peace Talks with the Palestinians.

But Bibi's problems are not just with the international community, but also at home, where mounting pressure is awaiting his return from America over the Israeli publics demand that progress be made in the release of Gilad Schalit, the Israeli soldier held captive by Haas in Gaza. So far, about 120,000 people have joined in total over the past few days, Schalit's family as the steadily walk towards Jerusalem to begin what is essentially a sit-in outside the Prime Minister's residence until he brings their sun home. It's been just over four years that the young man has been held – and the numbers of participants may well swell when the march finally meets Jerusalem later this week.

Then there are the settlers… who are demanding to build – and planning on doing so after the freeze on construction comes to an end. These are the people who put Netanyahu in power – yet Obama seems poised to ask Bibi to extend the freeze so that peace talks can proceed.

Both parties will be careful not to slip anything the media may perceive as negative towards the other. America has softened it's position on Mr. Netanyahu over the last few weeks, but Bibi's still going to get an earful it's perceived. All the pundits here say there will be plenty of that behind the closed doors.

Obama has got a lot on his plate concerning the Middle Eat – and the core of it is the Israeli Palestinian peace. The administration sees it much harder to control the larger Middle East reginal problems and challenges when this issue is not settled here locally.

Netanyahu has one thing in mind – political survival, but he is going to Washington knowing that it couldn't get much worse for him than it was last time, and that the Administration will do everything it can to demonstrate that relations are good and healthy with the US – Israel's closet ally.

Brian Bush
Middle East Correspondent
LeSEA Broadcasting

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