Bibi To Meet Obama, Putin

The White House announced today that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet President Obama at the White House on November 9. they will discuss boosting military aid to Israel and then engage in a lot of empty talk about peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

But first Netanyahu is going to Moscow next week to tell President Vladimir Putin that Russia's increased military presence in Syria and attempts to shore up the Assad regime pose "security" threats to Israel.

"The prime minister will present the threats against Israel that arise as a result of the increased flow of advanced weapons into the Syrian arena and the trickle of deadly weapons to Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations," Netanyahu's office said.

In Washington Netanyahu will say he sees an increased strategic threat to Israel as a result of his failure to block the six-power nuclear agreement with Iran.  The Israeli premier led a contentious and often bitter campaign in partnership with AIPAC and congressional Republicans to defeat Obama's major foreign policy initiative.  He is likely to met with them to plan the next steps in their campaign.

At the White House the two leaders will try to make shalom with each other as they discuss implementation of the agreement and a compensation package of enhanced security assistance including additional aid and advanced equipment.  Negotiations are reportedly already underway and the President intends to refer to a generous new aid package as what a spokesman called  "a demonstration of the deep and enduring bonds between the United States and Israel as well as the unprecedented security cooperation, including our close consultations to further enhance Israel's security."

Netanyahu should come away pleased with that part of the meeting but look for a clash between the two leaders on the rest of the meeting's agenda as described by the White House spokesman:

"The President also looks forward to discussing Israel's relations with the Palestinians, the situation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and the need for the genuine advancement of a two-state solution."

The PM can be expected to resist any urging by Obama to restart peace negotiations. Netanyahu may have said just last week that he is ready for unconditional talks with the Palestinians, but he has set terms the other side considers unacceptable and non-starters, including a refusal to compromise on Jerusalem and a demand for recognition of Israel as the Jewish nation state.

All the talk about peace talks is meaningless.  Obama is not about to launch yet another peace initiative and for some very good reasons.  He has too little time left in office and too many more issues that hold some promise of achievement, which this does not.  He has tried and failed several times to drag to the peace table two reluctant leaders who have shown no serious commitment, only a desire to exploit the issue to blame the other for any lack of progress.  Then there's the coming election and none of the candidates is interested in raising the issue, only sucking up to Jewish supporters by competing to take the most hardline position.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.