The PJ Tatler

Obama Stepping in to Try to Force Mideast Deal

Secretary of State John Kerry has been pushing to make President Obama’s legacy goal of a Mideast peace deal a reality, but now the process is getting bumped up to the Oval Office.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is speaking Tuesday morning at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in D.C.

On Monday he’ll meet with Obama, where the president is expected to pressure the prime minister to accept a Kerry-crafted framework for a Mideast peace process. Netanyahu, however, is eager to discuss Obama’s “historic mistake” on Iran.

This morning the White House announced this will be followed by a visit from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on St. Patrick’s Day.

“The President looks forward to reviewing with President Abbas the progress in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations,” press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement. “They will also discuss our continuing effort to work cooperatively to strengthen the institutions that can support the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

Netanyahu said at a press conference Monday that “without Palestinian recognition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, there can be no real reconciliation because the conflict cannot end without the Palestinians basically giving up all national claims to the Jewish state.”

“Peace must also be based on iron-clad security arrangements that enable Israel to safeguard the peace and protect Israel for any contingency because in this volatile part of the world, and we see how volatile it is, there can be no real peace without security,” Netanyahu said, adding that boycott movements “only serve to strengthen Palestinian intransigence.”

The chief Palestinian negotiator told Al-Jazeera this month that things will get “ugly” if a Mideast peace deal isn’t reached by April and warned that the Palestinian Authority — which already controls only half of the two Palestinian territories — could crumble.

“Number one…I cannot accept Israel as a Jewish state,” Saeb Erakat said. “Number two: I cannot accept any document without East Jerusalem being the capital of Palestine.”