Honeymoon over?

Benjamin Netanyahu’s and Barak Obama’s speeches at the UN General Assembly point to trouble down the line over the peace talks and Iran’s nuclear program.

By LESLIE SUSSER
October 17, 2013 17:51
Prime Minister Netanyahu and US President Obama meet at the Oval Office, September 30, 2013.

Netanyahu and Obama at Oval Office 370. (photo credit: Koby Gideon/GPO)

 
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WHAT BECAME abundantly clear at this year’s opening session of the UN General Assembly is that while Israeli and American leaders may share the same strategic goal – preventing a nuclear Iran – they have very different ideas on how to achieve it. So much so that rumbling friction between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama is threatening to put new strains on the special relationship.

For Netanyahu, the modus operandi against Iran should be heavier sanctions accompanied by a credible threat of force; for Obama, it is maintaining the current sanctions, accompanied by dialogue on conditions for lifting them. For Netanyahu, the Iranian offer of dialogue is merely a ruse to gain time; for Obama, it is an opportunity to make the world a safer place without the use of force. For Netanyahu, the Iranian and Palestinian issues are unconnected; for Obama, an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal would facilitate the formation of an American-led coalition of moderate Sunni states to curb the regional influence of Shi’ite Iran and its allies.

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