US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
US Under Secretary Wendy Sherman did not surprise, state something new or express an unacceptable American position when she said in a speech to the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism on Monday that if the new Israeli government continues to reject the idea of a two-state solution, it will be harder for the US to stand up for Israel in international forums, including the UN Security Council.
In a meeting that US President Barack Obama held recently with a group of Jewish leaders at the White House, he expressed similar sentiments in answer to a question asked by one of the attendees.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's comments prior to March's election, backing off of his support for a two-state solution, sparked at the time anger and frustration in the White House. Netanyahu's comments were interpreted as an official abandonment of the idea that stands at the center of any agreement that will be discussed in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
Netanyahu's effort to explain is pre-election comments and to soften the harsh interpretation that the White House took from them did not convince or relax Obama's inner-circle of advisers and consultants.
Sherman's comments on Monday gave voice to the fear and lack of trust that are still felt in the White House in regard to Natayhau's stance on the two-state solution.
A senior Jewish leader that took part in the meeting with Obama at the White House said that he does not estimate that we should expect a serious change in America's voting pattern at the UN Security Council on matters relating to the conflict.
Diplomatic sources in New York also contend that the US will continue to defend Israel at the UN. According to the sources, the US is working behind the scenes to suspend or delay all efforts to bring initiatives or draft resolutions to the UN Security Council that relate to the diplomatic process.
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The Americans claim that decisions at the UN should wait until the new Israeli government is formed and it will be known what its guiding principles will be in regard to the future of negotiations with the Palestinians.
Even after the the new government is formed, the Americans will prefer to hear from the mouth of Prime Minister Netanyahu himself what his opinion of the two-state solution is.
Three draft resolutions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are currently "floating around" in the Security Council. An Arab-Palestinian resolution which calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state, a French resolution which includes an outline of issues and parameters to be discussed in negotiations and a resolution that New Zealand distributed last week which calls for a renewal of negotiations.
In the meantime, the US has stuck to its old policy of not involving the UN Security Council in diplomatic efforts to reach a solution to the conflict. The US is insisting on remaining the exclusive mediator between Israel and the Palestinians.
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