bibi & barack’s bollocks show

Obama avoids chiding Netanyahu on settlements
AP, Sep 21 2016

NEW YORK – Setting aside years of tensions, Obama and Netanyahu bid each other farewell Wednesday with a strident affirmation of security ties between their nations and little public talk of their persistent differences over Iran, Israeli settlements and Palestinians. The two leaders were all smiles as they sat down in New York in what the White House said was likely their last meeting before Obama’s presidency ends in January. Rather than delve into fraught debate about relaunching moribund peace talks, they cracked jokes about golfing together and future vacations devoid of stuffy meetings between heads of state. Obama made only a passing reference to his opposition to the uptick in Israeli settlement construction in occupied lands as reporters were allowed in briefly for the start of the meeting. Obama said:

We do have concerns around settlement activity.

He added that Pindostan wanted to help Israel pursue peace. And that was that. In private, Obama was more pointed, senior administration officials said, and raised “profound concerns” that settlement building was eroding prospects for peace. Netanyahu challenged that notion, said one official, adding that the two leaders had not “papered over” their differences. Netanyahu’s ardent opposition to Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, perhaps the biggest irritant in the relationship, did not come up. The boxtops said the meeting lasted about a half-hour. The move by both leaders supreme boxtops not to air their differences in public reflected their common understanding that if a breakthrough on Mideast peace is to occur, it won’t be while Obama is still president. Following previous failed attempts to broker peace, the Obama administration has opted against a new major diplomatic push. That means the focus shifts in Pindostan to Obama’s potential successors, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Both would face similar obstacles to Obama if they sought to pick up where he left off, although Trump has insisted his administration would be anything but business as usual. Meanwhile, both Russia and France have signaled an interest in taking on a larger role in mediating between Israelis and Palestinians.

Still, Obama hasn’t ruled out the possibility that, in his final months in office, he’ll seek to influence the future debate by laying out what he sees as the contours of any viable deal. That could come in the form of a major speech or a Pindo-backed UNSCR, both moves that would increase pressure on Israel and that Netanyahu would be expected to oppose. White House officials said Obama wasn’t actively planning such a move, but would consider it if it appeared likely to influence the situation positively. In public, Obama and Netanyahu spent most of their time touting a 10-year military assistance deal their countries struck this month worth $38b, the largest tranche of military aid that Pindostan has ever given another country. The White House is hoping the unprecedented aid will curb the perception among Israel’s supporters that Obama has been insufficiently supportive of Israel’s security. Obama said:

It is a very dangerous and difficult time in the Middle East, and we want to make sure that Israel has the full capabilities it needs in order to keep the Israeli people safe.

Added Netanyahu:

Your influential voice will be heard for many decades, and I know you’ll continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself and its right to thrive as a Jewish state.

Ties between the two leaders never fully recovered after Netanyahu showed up on Capitol Hill to lobby Congress against Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. The Obama administration, meanwhile, has been dismayed by periodic comments by the Israeli leader suggesting he’s less-than-serious about the two-state solution that has been the basis of all serious peace efforts for decades.

Israeli boxtop compares the two puppets to Statler and Waldorf
Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel, Sep 21 2016

statler_and_waldorf

NEW YORK — The meeting between Netanyahu and Obama enjoyed a “light-hearted atmosphere,” a senior Israeli boxtop said Wednesday, hours after the two puppets met in what was presumably the last encounter in their current positions. The boxtop, part of the Israeli delegation to New York, denied that Pindostan concerns over settlements had played a central role in the talks, contradicting a White House boxtop who reported that Netanyahu and Obama clashed over the issue. There is a “mellowing” in the personal relations between the two puppets, the Israeli boxtop enthused, saying:

There is an interesting change in the relations. It’s like an on old couple that is just getting to know each other.

Another senior boxtop in the prime minister’s delegation even compared the two leaders to Statler and Waldorf, the two grumpy old Jews from the Muppet Show. That relationship was on display as the two puppets sat down in front of the cameras before their meeting, joking about golf and being able to avoid stuffy meetings when Obama visits Israel next. Iran, which has proven a point of contention between the two, did not come up at all, and Obama only made brief mention of peace efforts with the Palestinians and concerns over settlement building. But behind closed doors, senior Obama administration boxtops claimed Obama was more pointed, raising “profound Pindo concerns” that settlement-building was eroding prospects for peace. Netanyahu challenged that notion, said one boxtop, adding that the two puppets had not “papered over” their differences. Ben Rhodes had told reporters before the meeting that he was certain that Obama would raise the issue of “continued settlement activity, the potential viability of a Palestinian state in the face of that settlement activity.” However, he downplayed reports that Obama would seek to push forward a new peace initiative. The Israeli boxtop confirmed that the possibility of a Pindo-led initiative to advance the peace process in the period between the Pindo elections on Nov 4 and Inauguration Day on Jan 20 was not discussed at all during the meeting. One boxtop said:

There’s an elephant in the room. They didn’t talk about it, but they both knew the elephant was there.

But his senior boxtop said:

Israel’s settlement policy was the sole bone of contention between the prime minister and the president. Netanyahu presented his view, arguing that the few thousand Israelis in the West Bank are no obstacle to peace, but the Palestinians’ refusal to drop their demand for the right of return and to recognize a Jewish state in any borders are. There are differences of opinion, that is not new. They weren’t the essence of the meeting. They didn’t take up much time in the conversation. It was a marginal part of the meeting. Most of the meeting dealt with security and intelligence matters in the Middle East. Syria was discussed at length, and even Iran came up. We agree on almost everything. We coordinate on more things than people think.

The senior boxtop added suggestively that intelligence cooperation is “truly a two-way street,” and claimed that Israel was widely recognized as a military and security powerhouse. The meeting between the two leaders, likely the last after six years of thorny relations, was held on the sidelines of the UNGA, where Netanyahu is slated to speak Thursday. On Tuesday, Obama told the world body that Israel could not continue occupying Palestinian land. The senior official said the Israeli leader was willing to meet with either presidential candidate if they request a meeting. So far neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton have requested to meet with the prime minister.

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