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Público, Spain

Obama Calls Netanyahu

By Eugenio García Gascón

Translated By Cami Stewart

30 January 2013

Edited by Hana Livingston

Spain - Público - Original Article (Spanish)

Obama called Prime Minister Netanyahu on Monday. The president picked up the telephone to congratulate Netanyahu six days after the Israeli elections. Six days is a long time, but better late than never.

In Israel, the point is being emphasized that Obama is the first of Netanyahu’s Western allies to call him. In fact, at this time no other Western leader has called, even though the Likud Beitenu coalition clearly won the elections a week ago.

Those surrounding Netanyahu say this is normal because it is logical that the calls will take place once he finishes forming the government.

Obama and Netanyahu are condemned to coexist during the next four years. Israel is not just another country. It has exceptional power in the U.S. through the Jewish lobby, and it is Obama’s turn to get along well with Netanyahu.

The lobby, by way of other organizations and individuals, started a campaign against Obama’s recent appointments, specifically against the candidate for secretary of defense.

Among those behind this campaign is Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas gaming tycoon who donated tens of millions of dollars to Republican candidates during the recent U.S. elections. Adelson also runs a free daily newspaper in Israel that handles Netanyahu with silk gloves.

Obama told Netanyahu that he hopes to be able to work with him to reactivate the peace process with the Palestinians. This is a priority for Washington, but not for Israel – at least not Netanyahu’s Israel.

The chemistry between Obama and Netanyahu is not good. It does not seem that the U.S. president has enough power to pressure Israel to reach an agreement with the Palestinians – that is, to withdraw from the occupied territories. Without pressure there will be no progress on this crucial issue for the Middle East.

On the other hand, the other Western leaders – meaning Europeans – will reap nothing by not calling Netanyahu to congratulate him. The only possible way to advance their interests is through pressure, and it is apparent that the Europeans are not up to the task either.



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