12:08 PM, May 6, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
Eli Lake has another big scoop:
You really have to read the whole thing to understand this complicated story. As President Obama's meeting with new Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu approaches, there will be tremendous pressure on both leaders to demonstrate that they can work together effectively. It was in that context that Joe Biden both assured the crowd at AIPAC this week of the administration's commitment to Israeli security while also demanding that Israel "work for a two-state solution ... not build more settlements, dismantle existing outposts and allow Palestinians freedom of movement." Likewise, Netanyahu, in a video address to the conference, assured his American audience that he was committed to the two-state solution and the peace process.
Indeed, despite a change of government in both countries, these were essentially the same rules as before. Condi would demand greater freedom of movement for the Palestinians and the dismantling of outposts, and the Kadima government would participate in the Annapolis process even though it was little more than a charade.
However, with Lake's report comes evidence that the Obama administration is not like all the others that preceded it, and that it may well plan to fundamentally change the relationship between the United States and Israel. The comments by Gottemoeller are absurd -- none of these countries is going to surrender their current arsenals and allow full inspections by the international community -- but another comment by Bruce Riedel, who headed the Obama administration's "AfPak" strategy review, offers a more credible view into the adminsitration's thinking:
The Obama administration may make Israel's nuclear deterrent a bargaining chip in their negotiations with Iran -- negotiations that Secretary Gates says today have only a "very remote" chance of producing a favorable outcome. It's a big bet, but at least Obama's playing with someone else's security.