Barack Obama

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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Netanyahu meets Obama: Israelis do not want rift

By Shmuel Rosner, May 21, 2009

Ariel Sharon learned two important lessons between his failed tenure as defence minister in the early ‘80s, and his much more successful term as prime minister, starting in 2000. First, maintain eye contact with Israel’s centre, and make sure that even the liberal left doesn’t really hate you. Second, make sure to work closely with the US government. These two cannot guarantee personal success, but they are key to having relative political calm.

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Netanyahu meets Obama: Smiles, but tension ahead

By David Landau, May 21, 2009

Benjamin Netanyahu flew home from Washington with a significant and unpredicted achievement: President Obama, with the Israeli leader by his side in the White House, set a deadline for his new policy of dialogue with Iran. By the end of the year, the President said, “we should have a fairly good sense as to whether they are moving in the right direction”.

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Bibi makes his US debut

By Nathan Guttman, May 14, 2009

President Barack Obama will hold his first meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week as part of a round of discussions with Middle East leaders which is expected to lead to a new American policy on the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Differences between Jerusalem and Washington have recently emerged both on the future of the peace process and on the Iranian nuclear threat.

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Lieberman: Cyprus the blueprint for peace

By Stephen Pollard, May 14, 2009

Israel’s controversial Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, appears to have persuaded Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to adopt a peace plan which the leader of Yisrael Beiteinu views as an alternative to the two-state solution as it is usually defined.

Mr Lieberman, who has been visiting European capitals, revealed the outlines of his plan at a reception in London on Tuesday, on the eve of his meeting with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband. He also discussed the plan, which he has floated before, in Italy last week.

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What Shimon Peres told Barak Obama

By Nathan Guttman and Anshel Pfeffer, May 7, 2009

Israel’s new right-wing government made its debut in the American capital his week, with President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu trying to convince the Obama administration that they are committed to the peace process.

Mr Peres, who met with President Obama at the White House on Tuesday and gave the keynote speech at the annual policy conference of the pro-Israel lobby group, Aipac, assured his audience that Mr Netanyahu’s government will not renege on its roadmap commitments.

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