(JNS.org) President Barack Obama is not visiting Israel this spring to restart the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Instead, his goal is to mend fences with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Associated Press reported.
“That is not the purpose of this visit,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday regarding the peace process.
One major area of disagreement between Obama and Netanyahu has been the setting of a “red line” that, if crossed, would prompt U.S. military action against Iran over its nuclear program. Obama has thus far resisted Netanyahu’s calls for a red line, calling those calls “noise” in an interview with the CBS program “60 Minutes” last year. The two leaders would be well-served finding common ground on the Iranian issue when Obama visits Israel, American Thinker political correspondent Richard Baehr told JNS.org.
“There is a special need for [U.S.-Israel] coordination on Iran, especially if sabotage or military action against Iran is a possible option, as it certainly is at least for Israel,” Baehr wrote in an email.
Obama last fall reportedly nixed a meeting with Netanyahu when the prime minister was in the U.S. for the United Nations General Assembly. The White House, at the time, denied that report.
Prof. Eytan Gilboa of Bar Ilan University told the Associated Press that Obama’s Israel visit could yield talks with Netanyahu leading to “a new page in American-Israeli relations, and personal relations between Obama and Netanyahu.” Baehr was less optimistic, saying, “Obama and Netanyahu have met several times before, never with great warmth or accomplishment.”