Barack Obama

Analysis: Obama is in trouble

By Emanuele Ottolenghi, August 6, 2009

President Obama’s Middle East policy looks to be in trouble.

His engagement offer to Iran has fallen flat. His lofty speeches to Muslim audiences have failed to sway public opinion towards America. His demands to Israel that it halt any settlement activity have led to an unprecedented row with its government.

Worse, the perceived US pressure on Israel has left Arab leaders with the false impression that they have nothing to deliver. Since the US started its new bid on settlements, no Arab leader has agreed to any concession to Israel, symbolic or otherwise.

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Barak: We should accept US peace plan

By Jessica Elgot, August 4, 2009

Israel’s Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, has said he expects a new peace proposal from the US administration to arrive in the next few weeks, which he believes Israel should accept.

Mr Barak announced his intention of accepting the proposal at a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee.

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Analysis: Obama turns on the charm

By Nathan Guttman, July 16, 2009

“It was a wonderful exchange of views,” said Andrea Weinstein, chairwoman of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. “I felt at ease,” added Marla Gilson, Washington representative of Hadassah. “He was masterful,” concluded Ira Foreman, CEO of the National Jewish Democratic Council.

The famous Obama charm definitely worked on leaders of the Jewish community in their first face-to-face meeting with the president on Monday afternoon.

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Obama's pledge to US Jews

By Jessica Elgot, July 14, 2009

President Barack Obama has told US Jews that America is committed to Israel's security and would not pursue any foreign policy which would risk that.

The president was speaking with leading Jewish groups at a hour-long private White House conference.

During the meeting, Mr Obama stressed the importance of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians people and addressed the concerns of the group on appeasing Iran, participants said.

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Obama in talks with US Jewish leaders

By Jessica Elgot, July 13, 2009

President Barack Obama is meeting US Jewish leaders to respond to their concerns over his Middle East policies.

Although ostensibly the leaders have been invited to discuss Mr Obama’s domestic policy, in fact he is understood to be particularly addressing the pressure he is putting on the Israeli government to crack down on illegal Jewish settlements.

Mr Obama has invited representatives from Orthodox, Conservative and Reform groups alongside major American Jewish organisations such as the American Jewish Committee and Hadassah.

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Palestinian support for Hamas sliding, poll shows

By Jessica Elgot and Reuters, June 29, 2009

Support for Hamas has dropped by almost ten per cent, an opinion poll has shown.

The survey of 1,199 people, by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Centre (JMCC), put public support for Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip at 18.8 per cent, compared with 27.7 per cent in its previous poll in January.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction is now more popular than Hamas with a 34.9 per cent rating, up from 26 percent in January, indicating the group could take the next election in Gaza.

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Israel approves 50 new settler homes in West Bank

By Jessica Elgot, June 29, 2009

Israel plans to build 50 new West Bank homes in an existing settlement to absorb residents evicted from the illegal outpost of Migron, five kilometres north of Jerusalem.

The State Prosecutor's Office in Israel told the High Court on Friday that 190 housing units will be built in the settlement of Adam, approved by the Defence Ministry in May.

However, only 50 of the units can be erected without further approval from the ministry and the building approval does not include permission for any public buildings and roads.

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Obama slams settlements, then visits Buchenwald

June 4, 2009

US President Barack Obama has condemned Israeli settlement building - and admitted US foreign policy has been wrong in the past.

During a speech at Al-Azhar university in Cairo, he told the Israeli government that continuing to construct new Jewish homes in the occupied Palestinian territories must stop immediately.

And he went further than any US President in recent memory by conceding that US policies towards Iran and in its reactions after the 911 terror atrocity had been mistaken. He also implied that the invasion of Iraq had been a mistake.

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Obama to visit Buchenwald

June 4, 2009

President Barack Obama will visit the Buchenwald concentration camp tomorrow (Friday, June 5), at the end of his mini-Middle East tour.

He is concluding his trip by meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Dresden. Mrs Merkel and the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel are scheduled to accompany Mr Obama to Buchenwald, one of the largest Nazi concentration camps where an estimated 56,000 prisoners were killed during the Shoah.

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Analysis: This is the least Netanyahu can do to keep Obama happy

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 27, 2009

If this works, Barack Obama and Binyamin Netanyahu will be competing to take the credit for coming up with the idea first. If it works.

While everyone was waiting for a major bust-up between the Israeli government and the White House over Mr Netanyahu’s reluctance to commit to a two-state solution, both leaders seemed to agree to lay their differences aside, for now, and to focus on a more immediate and much smaller objective: removing the settler outposts.

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