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Obama Will Pressure Israel to Achieve Peace, Predicts Expert

Arutz Sheva speaks with Dr. Stephen Berk who took part in a session on U.S.-Israel relations at the AIPAC conference.
By Elad Benari & Yoni Kempinski
First Publish: 3/4/2013, 6:12 AM

Arutz Sheva spoke Sunday with Dr. Stephen Berk, a professor of Holocaust and Jewish Studies at the Union College.

Dr. Berk took part in a session entitled “History of the U.S.-Israel Relationship” at the 2013 AIPAC policy conference in Washington.

The relationship between the U.S. and Israel, said Dr. Berk, “remains rock solid. There have been changes and tensions, but underneath it all most Americans appreciate that in the struggle in the Middle East, Israel is on the right side.”

He said that it is hard to predict what will happen to the relationship in the second Obama administration, noting that since Obama is not up for re-election and not beholden to any constituency, he may pressure Israel.

“For Israel the major issue is obviously Iran, and we’ll have to see,” said Dr. Berk. “President Obama has said he will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon and the Israelis want to make sure that he remains attached to that commitment.”

On the issue of peace with the Palestinian Authority, he predicted that Obama will “lean heavily on the Israelis to make some sort of agreement with [PA Chairman Mahmoud] Abbas,” adding that Obama will have to make sure to address Israeli security concerns as part of such an agreement.

“What kind of guarantees can he give Israel? I don’t have the answer to that question,” admitted Dr. Berk.