US Senate Backs Netanyahu, Asks Obama to Pressure Abbas
Eighty-seven U.S. senators—almost the entire 100-member Senate—have signed a letter to President Barack Obama that in effect blames the Palestinian Authority for freezing direct talks--at least for the time being--with Israel.
The Senators' letter may help counter anti-Israel international sentiment, led by the Obama administration. U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters Monday that the United States is “disappointed” that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did not extend the 10-month moratorium on building. The freeze was instituted to satisfy Abbas’ condition for a resumption of direct talks, but he balked, arguing that it was not comprehensive and extensive enough.
A new poll reveals that President's Obama's peace-making efforts in the Middle East do not interest voters, whose attitude points to his becoming a one-term president for not succeeding in addressing issues such as economics, that do interest constituents.
The senators’ letter praises Prime Minister Netanyahu, who they pointed out "did not abandon the talks” despite “the brutal murder of four innocent Israeli civilians by Hamas militants at the start of the negotiations. We also agree with you [Obama] that it is critical that all sides stay at the table," the letter stated.
The senators sent the letter on Monday, according to the Foreign Policy website’s ”The Cable,” which described the message as including a “thinly veiled reference to Abbas's multiple statements that he would leave the talks if the moratorium was not extended.”
"Neither side should make threats to leave just as the talks are getting started," the letter stated. It was sent several hours before U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell announced he will return to the region this week in an effort to prevent the talks from being frozen indefinitely.
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has not said he will carry out his threat to end the talks following Israel’s resumption of building for Jews in Judea and Samaria, but instead he has referred the issue to the Arab League for a decision next week, relieving himself of the responsibility.