Obama and Netanyahu in the Oval office by Charles Dharapak/AP
If a picture is a thousand words, President Obama looked none too happy sitting opposite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their meeting yesterday at the White House.
Of course we knew beforehand Netanyahu was apoplectic when he heard Obama's speech the previous day at the State Department where he stated unequivocally that Israel must accept the 1967 borders as "starting point" for negotiations with the Palestinian's. As for "Bibi," those borders are "indefensible".
So the "ice" we saw was all too apparent even though Obama threw in the non-sequitur "good friends can have differences" comment for the cameras which couldn't hide the fact that there will be no thaw in their relations any time soon.
From here, Obama stood his ground with his implacable Israeli counterpart. Yet Obama's speech on Thursday needs to be just the opening salvo that must continue to be exerted on Israel.
For all the talk of Palestinian's needing to disavow Hamas et al and Netanyahu's insincere blather of Israel's desire of peace with the Palestinian's, what it all comes down to is this; only the U.S. has the leverage to compel the Israeli's to sit down at the conference table and hammer out a just and equitable peace.
It has ALWAYS been about the Israeli's. They're the occupying power, the expansionist and antagonist that has always inflicted disproportionate lethal responses to any provocation that may have come from the beleaguered and occupied Palestinians.
Like South Africa during the years of apartheid, Israel is the current pariah state which has earned that ignoble status by its brutality and insincerity of saying it wants peace when in reality they have embraced expansionism at the expense of the Palestinian's, gone full bore in building settlements and erecting a 22' concrete barrier around the West Bank that is a testament to their apartheid rule over the Palestinians.
It is Israeli facts on the ground, not their words that the world sees. And it's been U.S. intentional myopia and knee jerk support for Israeli intransigence that has allowed Israel to act with impunity and thumb their nose at the rest of the world.