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Originally published at Tikkun Daily |

According to reports from Channel 10 in Israel (which have been confirmed by the White House), President Obama will visit Israel for the first time in his presidency on March 20. The visit, to take place the week before Passover, is being billed by the White House as a way to "reaffirm the deep and enduring bonds between the United States and Israel."

However, according to Israel's Channel 10, Washington received assurances from the Israeli government that Obama would be able to engage in "large-scale efforts" related to the peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians during his visit.

It remains to be seen just how serious such efforts will be, and how public such efforts will be made if indeed Obama engages in serious dialogue between both sides. However, one thing seems clear: with a new Israeli government to be formed, the White House finally seems serious about trying to renew its role in peace talks.

Given the Obama Administration's consistent rejection of Palestinian efforts to gain an upgraded status in both the U.N. Security Council and the General Assembly, it will be difficult for Obama to make headway with both sides. However, after the UNGA resoundingly voted to grant Palestine non-member state status at the U.N., with many of America's closest allies either abstaining or voting for Palestinian statehood, perhaps an opening for progress exits. For the Western World is steadily shifting away from America's unbalanced position. A shift the Obama administration undoubtedly feels beneath its feet.

Update: According to the White House's Jay Carney, Obama will also visit the West Bank and Jordan.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Israel's recent election of moderates is hopeful (19+ / 0-)

    The people want peace. The recent rebuff to the far right is a hopeful sigh that the time is right for a peace initiative.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 10:52:42 AM PST

    •  I agree the election presents an opening. (14+ / 0-)

      However, sadly, recent election polls do not share your view that the people want peace. In fact, most voters had no interest in issues related to the Palestinians in general, and were not exactly warm to the idea of peace initiatives.

      I'm "THE" Troubadour," and not "Troubadour" without the article. We're different people here at DK :)

      by David Harris Gershon on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 10:58:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  They didn't elect that many moderates (0+ / 0-)

      At least those who will serve in the next government.

      by Paleo on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 11:18:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Israel moving left b/c of economy, anti-Orthodox (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Israel is drifting left mainly in response to economic woes, while hostility to their own religious right has less to do with a retreat from Zionism and more to do with the attitude that the ultra-Orthodox are a bunch of welfare queens: uneducated, unemployed and unemployable, and breeding like rabbits ... all while expecting society to not only support them but to accommodate all of their crabbed religious beliefs and observances, and yet refusing to defend that society by serving in the military.

      To the extent that the Occupation itself is unpopular, it's driven more by the attitude that it's a distraction from pressing domestic issues in Israel proper.  There's a growing sentiment that the government simply cares more about the settlers than it cares about millions of Israelis behind the Green Line.  Case in point: housing - Israel proper has a straight-up housing crunch, but the government only seems to want to build in the West Bank.

      Likud, Yisrael Beitinu, and the religious parties are most vulnerable to a party/coalition willing to run hard on a bread-and-butter economics platform (with a side dish of cutting off the ultra-Orthodox from state support), not the Palestinians.

      Something's wrong when the bad guys are the utopian ones.

      by Visceral on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 01:06:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Huh? (0+ / 0-)

      Why do people think the recent Israeli election was a rebuff to the far right? The 'far right' picked up more seats - mostly at the expense of the center-right.
      Yair Lapid kicked off his campaign in Ariel - that was a very clear and deliberate signal. Meretz gained only at the expense of Labor. The Movement was the only 'center' party that pushed for peace and they did like crap.

      Language professors HATE me!

      by Zornorph on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 09:02:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bibi will probably not even show up. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Keystone XL Pipeline - Canada gets the money, Asia gets the oil, America gets the toxic refinery pollution and potential for a pipeline leak ecological disaster.

    by Jacoby Jonze on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 10:55:12 AM PST

  •  Is this (14+ / 0-)

    great news for John McCain? (I'm kind of new here.)

    "The light which puts out our sight is darkness to us." Thoreau

    by NancyWH on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 10:58:19 AM PST

  •  But but but but but but ..... (0+ / 0-)

    "Rick Perry talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans." --- James Carville

    by LaurenMonica on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 11:02:39 AM PST

  •  By the way, Troubadour, Jay Carney just confirmed (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Troubadour, jj32, Eddie L, Smoh, lzmd

    the trip but no official date yet

    "Rick Perry talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans." --- James Carville

    by LaurenMonica on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 11:03:26 AM PST

  •  Amon many unenviable aspects (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, AoT, Shockwave, Smoh, isabelle hayes

    of the Presidency, is the political necessity of working closely with an intransigent partner nation and its scarcely less-intransigent opponents.  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 11:06:26 AM PST

    •  if not nation, at least leadership of that nation (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp, Smoh, isabelle hayes, Chi

      I don't have a link but most Israelis as far as I know support a two state solution and peace with autonomy for Palestinians

      kinda like how we voted for Bush (and his trumped up war etc) twice in a row...that's how I view it

      •  Takes me back to the day W won his 2nd term (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Smoh, isabelle hayes, WattleBreakfast

        I was trying and failing to act normal at a g-d- Steven Covey workshop my boss had roped me into.   I blurted out (paralyzing the entire happy-talk group) that I was having a hard time maintaining, because I believed that history would jugde my country harshly for this day.  

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 11:14:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Supporting a two state solution (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        in theory and supporting a just and fair two state solution in reality are two very different things.  I imagine that what a lot of Israelis consider a state is far from that.

        •  Most Israelis I've met don't particularly care as (7+ / 0-)

          long as the two sides stop blowing each other up and they're able to go about their lives.

          •  That's good to hear (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Although I'd imagine that once details are discussed those numbers would change, possibly drastically.

            •  depends on the year, depends on the political (6+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT, jplanner, Chi, JNEREBEL, lgmcp, Hey338Too

              situation, depends on the perceived threat.

              Coming off of high-terrorism years such as 2002, you're not going to see much popular sentiment for what they used to call 'land for peace' (not sure if they still do) at all.

              But around the early 90s, there was more of a will to move things forward...I think the 1st intefada (generally nonviolent) also helped significantly--as opposed to the violent 2nd intefada which was far more of a direct threat.

              •  I remember that. The people got tired sadly (0+ / 0-)
                •  but remember Rabin was assassinated in 95 (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  only 2 years after the Oslo accords.  Yeah, they weren't perfect and left some big-ass issues (e.g,. Jerusalem) to be handled 'down the road', but there WAS much  more international goodwill towards Israel at the time (remember they didn't retaliate during the Gulf War), and some genuine prospects for peace.

                  •  then came the (2nd?)Intifada (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    bevenro, lgmcp

                    it seems like...from the outside view anyway..that all the intifadas did was to harden Israeli's hearts (in general). Feeling threatened shuts people down.
                    I remember at the time hoping that would do some massive passive resistance thing all togeather that no one could ignore. People on Kos when I said similar recently got on me "the Palestinians DO do passive are blaming the victims".
                    No, I just want them to succeed in what they want if it is peace and a two state solution. It worked in India and the US South.
                    I don't think it would work with this right wing government however...they'd just put more settlers in.

            •  you are doing a bit of judging repeatedly (0+ / 0-)

              on what people would think. Sounds like you have a negative prejudgement of this people. I hope you know that the Israeli peace movement, that works with associated Palestinian groups, is huge and that they protest the government.

              •  I'm not, it's true of all people that they support (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                things in general and not the specifics that are hammered out later.  This is true of far more than just the I/P situation.  It was true with health insurance reform, and will be true when we even get around to seriously dealing with climate change.

                The question is whether Israelis are willing to support a state in more than just it's barest form, because the idea that Palestinians will accept some sort of pseudo state that is severely restricted and controlled by Israel seems fairly unlikely to me.

        •  why would you think that? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          they just want peace and security. They are just people, not more evil than others.
          Existing with countries whose leaders and/or prominant clerics (that are then praised by the leaders and never condemned for their words) that repeated say  "the Jews" or Israel (they interchange them) should be wiped off the planet....that they in league with the Devil, or countries that say that their own country has NO right to exist, probably feels impossible for them to feel safe. Because they are human beings and everyone would feel that way if surrounded by enemies. Even if it were their own countrie's fault OR even if their country shouldn't have been originally founded in that area. They are humans. That is how humans react when under constant threat.

          Before someone jumps down my throat for being too "pro Israel" let me say that I think that the settlements are a huge barrier....the biggest besides those that wont recongize Israel's right to exist and that I loathe the right wing Netanyahu government.

          •  They don't *just* want peace and security (0+ / 0-)

            And I think it's pretty obvious.  They want security first and foremost.  Israel is far more concerned with a few dead Israelis than thousands of dead Palestinians, which is true of pretty much any country and their enemy so I'm not singling Israel out on that one.  The US is just as bad.  The majority of Israelis would likely be perfectly content with a peace where Palestinians have no state, as long as the attacks stop.

    •  Conservative Intransigence Is Kinda Going Around n (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp, Smoh

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 11:35:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Edit: "progress exits" -> "progress exist" :) (0+ / 0-)
  •  First Kerry as SOS trip should be to Iran then (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Or at least mean with Iran and Russia at a neutral country somewhere.  

    Palestine is a proxy for Iran through Hamas.  

    Keystone XL Pipeline - Canada gets the money, Asia gets the oil, America gets the toxic refinery pollution and potential for a pipeline leak ecological disaster.

    by Jacoby Jonze on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 11:18:21 AM PST

  •  I guess he's rewarding Netanyahu (3+ / 0-)

    for all his cooperation, including expanding the illegal settlements.

    by Paleo on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 11:19:56 AM PST

    •  not at all. That's hardly a 'reward' anyway. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      isabelle hayes, AoT, angry marmot

      I think that this (plus the nomination of Hagel) signals a 2nd-term policy shift to a somewhat more hands-on approach (a la Clinton) to an I/P solution.  

      I think Obama has realized that the backseat role the administration took in his first term (although common to many first-terms) may have encouraged the Israeli right to get a bit (i.e. very) out-of-hand.  With the slightly leftward shift in the Knesset, I think there is going to be some more active (and very interesting) diplomacy going on on our part.

      I'm hoping.

  •  I think this was a pre-election campaign (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, lgmcp, FG, Smoh, AoT

    promise. I distinctly remember this coming up as a sore point in the campaign, his not having visited Israel as president, despite visiting Israel as a candidate in 2008, and the response being that he would do so after the elections.

    "It is, it seems, politically impossible to organize expenditure on the scale necessary to prove my case -- except in war conditions."--JM Keynes, 1940

    by randomfacts on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 11:30:58 AM PST

  •  Can't possibly understand why. (0+ / 0-)

    Shouldn't John Kerry be going first? I don't know what he expects to accomplish with a high profile trip to Israel.  Especially not with a reelected Netanyahu government. I haven't seen Netanyahu kiss enough ass after endorsing Romney.

    However, given my usual deference to President Obama's conduct of foreign affairs (except in Libya), i'll just give him the benefit of the doubt. He's done a good job so far of keeping the Israeli government at a somewhat healthy distance.

  •  I think your title over-reaches (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Martha, WattleBreakfast

    I don't think that Obama is going to push the peace process anywhere the Israelis don't want it to go. The discussion within the Israeli right now is about annexation and transfer, building in E1 etc. Likud and its partners want to keep the Jordan Valley, Hebron, all the bits around Jerusalem and all the bit inside the wall - which is why they built the wall.

    And right now, I doubt that Abbas would go to the peace table. There is no Palestinian support for it since it's been 20 years, Palestinians are fully aware of how much was conceded in the last talks with Livni and Olmert (which was rejected by the Israelis) and aren't ready to go back to that. The fact that a quisling like Abbas won't go back to the table should tell you something about how bankrupt the process is and how lacking in credibility in they eyes of Palestinians.

  •  Good for the President (0+ / 0-)

    I have no doubt that that, once in Israel, he will first and foremost reaffirm our country's long standing ties to and support for Israel. It will make the extremists on both sides cringe.

    Kol Hakavod Mr. President, and Nesia Tova!

  •  Thank you, The Troubadour! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    for all that you do.

    It isn't nice to go to jail ... but if that's freedom's price

    by Rusty Pipes on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 05:39:53 PM PST

  •  I have never been hide rated before (0+ / 0-)

    I am truly sorry to offend.

    Please know I was not in a place of spreading steryotypes (although those may be steryotypes) that I just heard...spreading rumors.

    I was married to a Morrocan man for five years and travelled with him there and other places in N. Africa as well as to Israel/Palestine

    What I related was my experience and knowledge about how it is based on talking to many people..including what they said themselved about how it was and why. I also saw a 60 minutes expose on the blood libel belief  and my friends had heard that rumor at her mosque and asked if it were true. They also discussed how everyone was talking about how Israel had really done 9/11. The other things I heard was on Al Jazerra in Arabic...they had the English subtitles on and sometimes my friend translated for me.

    So, maybe I am wrong but I did not even know that what I was saying was a Steryotype that others held. I was just relating what I knew based on my (limited) experience and reading and discussions with many people who are from the area.

    Again, I am very sorry to offend but I wasn't spreading rumors out of hate...or one point in my life my husband and closest friends were from the region. This was ten years ago but it's how it was and my own experience.

    One thing I see that is clear. I should not have said IT IS a certain way. I should have just related my experiences if at all.

    I wouldn't think it would offend anyone from the region because what I shared was what my friend thought also pretty much.

    Where I was coming from was dispair about the situation in the middle east. That is what I was feeling in the moment.

    Dont' think everything I post is "all bad" because you think I have some evil heavy bias against Arabs or Muslims. I don't. I just have my life experiences which are largely positive. It' s just forces that I THOUGH and Was Told were there at large get me down

    •  I see also that I chose words that were too broad (0+ / 0-)

      such as saying "they all think...". I understand why this is offensive, intended or not. If I read that from someone else I would bristle myself.

      Emotionally where it came from is a lamentation of the stuff I saw that's in the way of peace on that one side that I had experienced firshand. It is quite possible my information, being ten yrs old, is out of date or I thought my experiences and those of my friends and their associates were broad enough (as they did) to generalize. In my passion I chose words that were too sweeping and definitive, more than I actually think. I've not done that in writing before.

      I feel like I'm a sister caught between two siblings who are fighting and misunderstanding and hating eachother...that's what the feeling was. I have deep ties to both sides of the conflict.

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