Obama Kicks the Can Back to Netanyahu

The White House has sent messages to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asking him to stop acting as though he is waiting for a US letter to clarify the Obama administration's commitments to Israel for a 90-day building freeze, when the situation is just the opposite, DEBKA-Net-Weekly's exclusive sources in Washington report.
In fact, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is awaiting a letter from Netanyahu laying out the paragraphs he is asking to be contained in an American letter of guarantee.
Washington added it had no knowledge of any existing written commitment regarding talks with the Palestinians which Dr. Uzi Arad, Director of Israel's National Security Council reported Saturday night, Nov. 20, had been handed over and contained a US pledge not to ask for a third building moratorium on West Bank construction.
Our sources quote a senior American official as repeating on Thursday, Nov. 25 a comment President Barack Obama made to his advisers, saying: Netanyahu got us into this mess and it is up to him to get us (the Americans) out of it.
(Back in Nov. 19, debkafile reported that no American letter was promised at the prime minister's meeting with Clinton on Nov. 11).
So, for now, not only are direct Israel-Palestinian talks stalled, but so is the Israel-American dialogue on the peace issue. The same senior US official said Washington understands that Netanyahu cannot put his requests of the administration in writing because they would be turned down instantly, and the breach between Washington and Jerusalem would become an open clash.
The impasse is further complicated by the Arab League adopting tactics to exacerbate the breach and preclude the possibility of any letter being written – whether by Obama or Netanyahu. Its members oppose any US-Israeli understanding on a partial building freeze that leaves East Jerusalem out.

Obama, Abbas and Netanyahu left negotiating with themselves

Saudi Arabia, in particular, is vehemently opposed to Israel being rewarded with sophisticated weapons such as F-35 stealth jets. Shortly before he left for the United States for back surgery, DEBKA-Net-Weekly's sources quote Saudi King Abdullah as remarking angrily that President Obama, the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Binyamin Netanyahu have wound up negotiating with themselves. They are totally cut off from the Arab world, the Palestinian people or events taking place in the region. The Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat thereupon fired a broadside against Abbas accusing him of tactics which produced only one result: Israel's receipt of advanced American weaponry.
While most Israeli politicians have been circling around Netanyahu's disagreement with Washington and its fallout, Minister of Trade and Industry Eli Yishai gave a straight-up diagnosis: "We've hit deadlock with the Americans," he said. Their demands are not acceptable to us. The whole thing is stuck in the mud. There appears to have been misunderstandings and as a result it is impossible to formulate any document."
Prime Minister Netanyahu's office made haste to lighten Yishai's bleak comment:
 "Contacts with the US are continuing for the principles the prime minister agreed to with Secretary of State Clinton to be put in writing and submitted to the cabinet for approval."
This was the first time that the Prime Minister's Office admitted he is no longer waiting for a US letter. His statement did not say who would do the writing.
In attempt to break the stalemate, our sources report Uzi Arad is pushing the option of a partial interim accord for establishing a Palestinian state within temporary borders, since the Palestinians are refusing to negotiate.
This proposal has no chance of acceptance either by the Obama administration or the Palestinians.

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