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 Post subject: Obama, Israel could be headed for clash over settlements
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 5:57 pm 
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Obama, Israel could be headed for clash over settlements

President Barack Obama plans to ask Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to freeze Jewish settlements in the disputed West Bank during their first White House meeting Monday, U.S. officials said, potentially setting up a confrontation between the American president and a close U.S. ally.

While it isn't known how hard Obama will press the point or the precise outlines of his request, but by raising the settlements issue now, he's wading into one of the most sensitive areas of U.S.-Israeli relations — one that's confounded many of his predecessors.

The American thinking is that Obama's drive for an Arab-Israeli peace agreement will never get off the ground, given the sour atmosphere in the region, without confidence-building measures by both sides.

In return for a freeze on settlements in areas claimed by the Palestinians for an eventual state, Israel would be offered steps toward acceptance by the Arab states, as promised in a recently revived 2002 Arab peace initiative
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AN EXERCISE IN FUTILITY...ESPECIALLY WITH NETANYAHU IN OFFICE.

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