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As Obama Begins Mideast Trip, Focus Is on Israel

By Ben Pershing
President Obama arrived in Saudi Arabia minutes ago, and as he begins a trip designed to improve his country's relationship with the Muslim world, America's relationship with a key ally -- Israel -- is just as much in the spotlight.

Obama's visit and his much-anticipated speech in Cairo Thursday come as his administration is putting increased pressure on Israel to halt settlement activity. The Associated Press says "Obama has gotten tough with Israel ... in what appears to be a clear break from decades of U.S. policy." The timing of Obama's shift hasn't been lost on anyone, including Israel supporters in the president's own party, who fret that he is being too tough on the Jewish state. Ehud Barak, Israel's defense minister, met with top U.S. officials in Washington yesterday in an effort to defuse tensions over the settlement issue. Barak got a surprise visit from Obama himself (leading to the inevitable "Barak Meets Barack" headline).

But will taking a stronger stance toward Israel be enough for Obama to make real headway in the Middle East? Anthony Shadid writes that as Obama attempts to reach out to the Muslim world, "he will face the legacy of names like Haditha, Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib." The Wall Street Journal says Obama "will face a cynical -- and in some corners, hostile -- audience" for his speech. A Gallup poll taken in March showed that only 25 percent of Egyptians approve of the job performance of U.S. leaders, though that number is roughly double what it was for much of George W. Bush's presidency.

Continue reading at Political Browser »

By Ben Pershing  |  June 3, 2009; 8:21 AM ET
Categories:  The Rundown  
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Posted by: Israeli_SoldierBoy | June 4, 2009 4:41 AM | Report abuse

We are in Israel, feel like Czechoslovakia in 1938. Someone wants to give parts of us as a present for the savages.

We can't understand how giving presents to extremists whould make them calm. We cann't understand how relations based on the same values, are been thrown for the chance of "Peace of our time" (cinical).

For most of us (including the Muslims themselfs), there is no difference between Tel-Aviv and any other settlements. In fact, we are all live in one big settlement, called "Israel" In the wild Middle East. Exectly as once US has been.
I and my friends in this settlement, don't feel any regrats for "living".

We all see how the west treats N.Koreah and we understand that we all alone in this ship. That to live and survive is not a matter of been just, but a matter of been strong. "When the guns speakes, rules are silenced".

Don't let the new Chemberlin give us. We Won't.

Posted by: Israeli_SoldierBoy | June 4, 2009 4:39 AM | Report abuse

So, now we have complaints from some isrealis that they had a secret unwritten agreement with a few folks from the Bush Administration to ignore Israel's commitment not to build further on Palestinian land acquired by force. And some sort of mealymouthed half-agreement from, of all people, Elliot Abrams.

What? What in the world does anybody think we are supposed to do about this? This is not the way either to safeguard Israel or to seek anything like a secure Middle East.

Obama has his hands full.

Posted by: thmas | June 3, 2009 11:29 PM | Report abuse

What it means is he was sending a polite message to Barak, was this, I am boss in this town, and if you do not like it go home.

No one outside America respects the previous presidents, especially the last one,. Clinton, while angry at the Israel's attempts to boss America around never had the balls or the gut to confront them head on. Also if it have not been clear after 9/11 attacks that past policies has failed the nation, previous politicans of the last 50 has let the hate of Americans build up in the Middle East with out try forge true friendships and alliances instead of using the nations there as tools.

Obarma is taking a different. new approach, similar to Clinton but much more bald and divisive. Trying to build up personal relationships and alliances in the region. Slapping down Israel is a easy step in this direction.

The stuff that been coming out in the last day, clearly proves that the US for the last 20 years have been less than impartial when if came to negotiating a peaceful resolution in the Middle East. With secret back room deals and letting the Israelis reinterpret the deals and recieving the okay from Washing, Obarma just say no to this double and forcing Israelis to agree to deals they themselves have signed up to.

Obarma is bringing a new game to town an so far he seem to be winning hearts and minds with in the region an repair and build relationships. The real and only way to defeat the extremist in the long term.
Previous policies is probably what holding him back from making real progress and from holding this speech in the first 100 days of his term.

Posted by: davidknowles2 | June 3, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

This trip marks the beginning of acting like a fool! Obama and his regime are the disaster! I hope Israel bombs Iran and a few other MUSLIM countries! A few less muslim countries in the world would make this world a safer place! North Korea is testing missiles for Iran right now! We tried diplomatic relations for years............where did that get us? Thousand of Americans have been killed in the name of Allah! Thousands more muslim women and children have been killed at the hands of this murderous religion! America used to stand for liberty and justice now we just pander to everyone! Those of you that want to reach out to these countries I am sure have never lived under these religious fanatics! This fighting has gone on for many, many years.!!!!!! It used to be TRIBALISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They will never get along! Fundamentally different beliefs are working against each other!

Posted by: omg2 | June 3, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

This when the President will announce sanctions on Israel

Posted by: MatthewAvitabile | June 3, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

While POTUS plays SecState...



The real threat to liberty is at the "micro" level, in YOUR hometown, at YOUR police and fire stations, on YOUR street -- a vigilante "citizen corps" army that implants GPS tracking devices to stalk and persecute unjustly "targeted" citizens and their families...

...and uses hi-tech microwave radiation "directed energy weapons" to degrade the minds and bodies of their prey.

Team Obama and naive and distracted mainstream media, now hear this:

This American Gestapo is funded and overseen by secretive federal security/military/intel agencies and their usurping local operatives.

Team Obama: THIS is the real threat to freedom in America -- and to YOUR administration:

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled):

Posted by: scrivener50 | June 3, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

What will Obama's Middle East trip amount to, a peace conference or more rhetoric?


Posted by: usadblake | June 3, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

9/11 itself changed the entire dynamic of "terrorist states" in ways Bush never recognized. No leader of an Islamic state wants to be associated with that attack. We have long had an opportunity to drive a deeper wedge between Islamic leaders and Islamic terrorists. Bush's policies and the anti-Muslim fervor he encouraged were exactly the wrong approach to that opportunity. Obama's approach makes more sense. In the long run, we should be able to use that approach to negotiate more safety for Israel. If it doesn't work, we don't have to keep trying it; but nothing would help Israel more than bringing Islamic states into the fold of nations supporting international stability.

Posted by: NomoStew | June 3, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

The president's Introduction gives a prize to those countries in previous governments have called for terrorist states.
In addition, he bypasses the agreement that was customary until now; do not negotiate with a terrorist organization.
He is throwing all the foreign policy of previous presidents.

Now, he taught them that it is better to be terrorists to get more.

In addition, he is not acting according to general protocol.
For example his sudden entrance into the room while a formal meeting between the Minister Ehud Barak and the National Security Advisor Jim Jones.
Not even care to kick his best friends.

What this actually means.

Does that mean that he respects the previous presidents?
Does that mean that he is loyal to the heritage of America?

Is it helping to promote democracy in the world?

Does that mean any one can count on America?

.Concluded the conclusions alone

Ofer, Israel

Posted by: heibett | June 3, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

This trip will mark a new beginning in U.S./Mideast relations. It is Obama first chance to undo the disaster that was the Bush regime.

Posted by: parkerfl1 | June 3, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

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