The Middle East press has questioned President Obama's authority over Arab-Israeli issues since Charles W. Freeman Jr.'s withdrawal from his appointment to a senior intelligence position.
A commentary in Abu Dhabi's the National, a newspaper owned by an investment fund controlled by the government, said Freeman's decision Tuesday to withdraw as chairman of the National Intelligence Council "threw the Obama administration into the heart of a long-running controversy over the alleged supremacy of pro-Israel hawks in determining US foreign policy after having taken a cautious approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so far consistent with previous administrations."
The Daily Star in Beirut went further, saying Freeman's action "is likely to be viewed as a significant victory for hardliners within the so-called 'Israeli lobby,' who led the movement to scuttle his appointment, and a blow to hopes for a new approach to Israel-Palestine issues under the Obama administration."
An analyst in the National pointed out that the "Israel lobby" may have had a Pyrrhic victory. Noting that vocal Freeman opponent Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, had publicly said, "I repeatedly urged the White House to reject him, and I am glad they did the right thing," the analyst wrote, "A lobby that has thrived through its covert operations can claim another victory in reversing Freeman's appointment, but this time its workings may have been too transparent for its own good."