Saturday, May 29, 2010

"...Not all American Jewish groups & lawmakers are on the same page ..."

The Cable/ here

"... Most are uncomfortable with President Obama's policy of placing pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and want to make sure that the administration's efforts to bring the two parties to the negotiating table doesn't come at the expense of the U.S.-Israel alliance.

Other Jewish lawmakers openly support pressuring Netanyahu, and take a stance that diverges from the Israeli government's approach to key issues. One of them is Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, who is circulating a letter supporting the proximity talks around the Senate this week,obtained by The Cable.

The letter, addressed to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, hasn't been sent and is still open for signatures. But a couple of its lines are already raising eyebrows in Senate offices on both sides of the aisle.

"We strongly believe that a permanent peace agreement ... can only be achieved with the United States bringing the parties together and driving them to a settlement," the letter states (emphasis added). Later on, it argues, "While the Israeli Government has announced a moratorium on settlement activity, for too long the expansion of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem undermined confidence."......

Netanyahu is certain to be irked by the letter's language......

Whether or not the U.S. should "drive" the two parties to make peace is another point of contention. The Palestinians see the proximity talks as a great way to keep the Obama administration actively involved, while the Israeli government and its supporters feel that although the U.S. has an important role to play, the Obama administration shouldn't be pushing Netanyahu to do things he doesn't want, or isn't able, to do.

"It's unclear what more Senator Feinstein wants to push Israel to do," said one GOP Senate aide. "At what point do we really want to force democracies to do things their people don't support?" (he is funny that GOP aide... He is really funny!)

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