By Jonathan Freedland, June 4, 2009
By all accounts, Barack Obama is a keen and skilful poker player. That’s useful to know because he’s about to call the bluff of Israel and many of its supporters around the world.
That much became clear last week when Obama’s secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, told Israel that the President “wants to see a stop to settlements — not some settlements, not outposts, not natural-growth exceptions” but an end to all settlement expansion on the West Bank. Period.
Obama himself has rammed the point home. He wants a “freeze on settlements”: no qualifiers.