Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

Monitoraggio attraverso i media internazionali delle elezioni in Israele del Febbraio 2009

Barack Obama attempts to ward off disastrous military air strike on ‘nuclear’ Tehran

Posted by claudiacampli su 17 maggio, 2009

Times

Tim Reid in Washington

President Obama will seek today to persuade the hawkish Israeli Prime Minister that the White House’s recent overtures to Iran should be given time to work and that an Israeli military strike against Tehran could trigger disaster.

Mr Obama’s meeting in the Oval Office with Binyamin Netanyahu comes amid fundamental differences on their approach to the Middle East and mixed signals over whether the Israeli Prime Minister could endorse the idea of a sovereign Palestinian state — a cornerstone of US policy in the region.

Mr Netanyahu, who unlike his predecessors has refused to back the idea of an independent Palestinian state, arrived in Washington as his Defence Minister suggested that he may be prepared to endorse a peace process leading to such an outcome.

“I think and believe that Netanyahu will tell Obama this Government is prepared to go for a political process that will result in two peoples living side by side,” said Ehud Barak. A former Israeli Prime Minister and long-time rival of Mr Netanyahu, he has been a supporter of a “two-state solution” and is part of the current Prime Minister’s governing coalition.

Yet no sooner had Mr Barak spoken than Ofir Akunis, a confidant of Mr Netanyahu and a member of his conservative Likud party, said that the Israeli leader would refuse to back a Palestinian state. Yisrael Katz, the Israeli Transport Minister, also said that Mr Netanyau would “oppose any creation of an armed Palestinian state on Israel’s borders, which would endanger Israel’s security”.

It is uncertain how much consensus Mr Obama and Mr Netanyahu will be able to reach, either on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or on Iran.

Mr Obama sees a two-state solution as vital to Middle East peace, and a key factor in the push to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons programme. The US President will also argue today that Israel must stop building new settlements in the West Bank.

Mr Netanyahu does not believe that the Palestinians are ready to govern themselves, not least because they are fundamentally split. President Abbas’s increasingly shaky hold on power runs only in the West Bank. The rival Hamas militants control Gaza.

Mr Netanyahu says that he is ready to negotiate with Mr Abbas. He also says that he is ready to open up border crossings and invest in the Palestinian economy but has stopped short of endorsing a sovereign independent state.

Mr Obama’s recent offer of talks with Tehran has raised deep concerns in Israel and Mr Netanyahu views Tehran’s nuclear ambitions as an existential threat to the Jewish state. Both men agree that Iran’s nuclear programme must be stopped but have differing opinions on how to to do it, particularly as the Israeli leader sees no link — as Mr Obama does — between the issue of Palestinian statehood and efforts to halt Iran’s nuclear programme.

During his election campaign Mr Netanyahu hinted at his willingness to launch a military strike if Iran refused to halt the programme. This month Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli Foreign Minister, said that world powers should take action against Iran if it does not curb its nuclear activities by August.

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